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Kearney Freshman's Death At Dangerous, Unguarded UP Crossing Ruled Accident

(Kearney, Nebraska — February 14, 2012)

The tragic death of University of a University of Nebraska-Kearney student at a dangerous, unmarked Union Pacific railroad crossing the evening of January 25, was finally ruled an accident at a Buffalo County Coroner’s inquest in Kearney, NE February 14.

Jimmy Ray "JR" Barnett, 19, from Garden County, NE, a freshman industrial distribution student and member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at UNK, died instantly when his 2003 Dodge Ram pickup truck was struck by a 123-car UP coal train, bound for Kansas, at 8:45 P.M. Jan. 25.

Barnett was traveling north on Evergreen Road when he attempted to cross UP’s triple-track main line at the crossing, which has only standard railroad crossbuck and highway stop signs for protection and lacks any form of automatic signalization such as lights, bells or gates, that fateful night.