(Cowley County, Kansas – December 28, 2023)
A motorist was seriously injured yesterday in Southeast Kansas when his 2015 Nissan Frontier was struck by a BNSF freight train. The collision occurred at the dangerous, and unguarded railroad crossing on 102nd Street just southwest of Udall. The collision was reported around 3:55 pm.
The seriously injured motorist has been identified as Bruce Bonewell, 64, of Udal. According to reports, he was heading west on 102nd Street when he was struck by the BNSF freight train. First responders said Bruce Bonewell was transported to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita.
As mentioned, the BNSF railroad crossing where this collision occurred is unprotected by any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn motorists of oncoming trains. The crossing sees an average of ten trains a day travelling over the crossing at a typical speed of 55 mph. It is virtually certain that the addition of lights and gates could have prevented this tragedy and the tragedy before it. Studies that have been conducted over fifty years ago confirm that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train collisions by as much as 96%.
The Kansas Highway Patrol is still investigating this collision.