Railroad News

Iowa Motorist Killed When Car Hangs Up at Rural, Severely Humped BNSF Crossing

(Danville, Iowa – May 20, 2017)

A Burlington, IA motorist was killed by a BNSF freight train early Saturday morning at the dark, angular crossing of BNSF Railroad tracks and 145th Street between Danville and New London, IA.  Saturday morning’s tragedy occurred at about 3:30 A.M.  The collision occurred when her car became hung up at the gravel-surfaced, elevated double-track crossing.

Alysabeth Louise Ferneau, 24, became the second motorist to be killed at the crossing, which is equipped with crossing gates and lights. The two-lane gravel road crosses BNSF tracks has no overhead street lighting to better enable motorists to clearly see the narrow humped crossing surface at night. The train tracks carry a daily average of 40 BNSF freight and Amtrak passenger trains.  The evidence revealed that there was no train approaching when her car became impaled and she attempted to dislodge her car.  However, she was unsuccessful and after an unknown amount of time a train barreled down the tracks and collided with her vehicle.

This collision was the third to occur at that crossing; with the most recent (9/21/09) having been another female motorist whose pickup truck was stopped or stuck on the crossing.

The accident was being investigated by the Iowa State Patrol and Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office.