(Atalissa, Iowa – May 5, 2016)
A 40-year-old Muscatine, IA farmer was airlifted to the University of Iowa Medical Center in Iowa City after his highly-sophisticated and extremely valuable John Deere fertilizer-sprayer tractor was struck by an Iowa Interstate Railroad freight train at the signalized, but non-gated, crossing of Oak Street in Atalissa, IA about 7:20 P.M., CDT Thursday evening. The train consisted of two locomotives pulling 107 rail cars
Matthew J. Carlson had his farm equipment dragged more than 100 yards and effectively destroyed as one of the four daily IIRR trains that cross Oak Street at a top allowable speed of 40 mph struck him. He was taken to the Iowa City hospital and admitted in undisclosed condition for the serious injuries from the train/tractor collision.
Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan told Peggy Senzarino of the Muscatine Journal that the crossing was equipped with red warning lights but no crossing arms. The addition of these devices would certainly have prevented the near-tragic accident. Studies have proven that the addition of gates to flashing light only crossings reduce accidents by up to two-thirds.