(Calamus, Iowa – November 6, 2014)
A 65-year-old local farmer has succumbed to injuries he received in a crossing collision between his tractor and auger and a 80-car Union Pacific freight train at the 190th Avenue crossing near Calamus in Clinton County, IA on October 29 at about 11:30 A.M., CDT.
Tom Olson, the younger brother of Iowa State Representative Steve Olson, also of Calamus, and who sits on both the Agriculture and Public Safety Committees, was attempting to cross the UPRR double-track main line, but the crossing signals activated as he was crossing, and his auger became caught on the descending crossing gate, halting his tractor.
Olson exited the cab of his tractor and first ran toward the train waving his arms to alert the crew to stop their train. When that failed, he again climbed aboard his tractor in a futile attempt to move the coupled farm machines from the downed crossing apparatus. At that point, the train struck the tractor and auger. He was airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospital in Iowa City with what were described as “dehabilitating injuries”, and passed away Thursday, November 6.
The Union Pacific corridor accommodates a daily average of 58 freight trains at a maximum allowable speed of 70 mph.
On Friday, the people of the Calamus community showed how much they loved and respected the man who was both a school bus driver and an auctioneer as well as a farmer who often donated his time to charity as hundreds of them donated food, fuel and machinery as they united to help harvest the remainder of the deceased farmer’s fall crops.