(Osceola, Iowa — August 4, 2013)
Two young adult men died at the scene of injuries each received when the pair of pedestrians was struck down by one of the 39 daily Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight and Amtrak passenger trains that pass through the southern Iowa community of Osceola on BNSF tracks daily at speeds as high as 79 mph at about 5:00 A.M. Saturday.
The deaths of Zack Brown, 24, of Osceola, and Justin Schumacher, 22, of Indianola, IA, added another pair of fatal statistics suffered on Iowa rails and at Iowa grade crossings this past year. They were walking westbound as the train approached on the eastbound set of rails of the BNSF double-main tracks, and may not have realized which track the train was traveling upon. Nearby resident Ernest Sarowski told WHO-TV Reporter Jodi Whitworth that he often sees people walking along the BNSF railroad tracks in the area, and that he “figured that somebody got hit,” deducing that due to the fact that the public street (Delaware Street), “is a dead-end on both sides, it couldn’t have been a vehicle and it had to be someone walking on the tracks.”
The body of one of the two victims landed in Sarowski’s yard.
Osceola Chief of Police Marty Duffus confirmed that the location of the accident was not at a railway/roadway crossing, and that the locomotive engineer was the sole witness to the tragedy.