(Remsen, Iowa – June 12, 2012)
A 30-year-old resident of Remsen, IA suffered what were described as “incapacitating injuries” about 5:55 P.M. Tuesday afternoon when the 2009 John Deere self-propelled sprayer he was operating along Sunset Avenue near Remsen was struck by and heavily damaged by a Canadian National freight train.
David Keffeler was headed south toward the Sunset Avenue intersection with Iowa Highway 3 when he encountered the crossing, which has only standard railroad crossbuck and highway “yield” signs, completely lacking any form of automatic protective devices (flashing lights, bells or gates) which might have prevented the accident, and was hit by a westbound CN train he probably never saw nor heard over the noise of the machine he was operating.
The sprayer was knocked into a ditch on the west side of Sunset Avenue, completely destroying the $265,000 machine and ejecting the victim from the cab.
Witnesses to the accident believed that trees along the track may have obstructed Keffeler’s view of the coming train, and authorities said that trains and crossings in rural areas can be dangerous due to the lack of warning lights and crossing gates at so many of them.
Keffeler was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City, IA, while Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office authorities continued their investigation into the incident. The crossing accommodates two trains daily at speeds of up to 40 mph.