(Raymond, Minnesota — October 22, 2018)
A driver of a semi-trailer truck hauling sugar beets died when his 18-wheeler was struck by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway freight train about 6:00 PM, CDT Monday. The deadly collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded intersection of BNSF tracks and Kandi-Chippewa Line Road just outside of Raymond, MN.
Daniel Roy Schmidt was southbound when he approached the grade crossing, which was not equipped was any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The position of the sun may have been a factor in the fatal collision, which knocked the truck’s tractor and victim into a ditch which, like the BNSF rails, like Minnesota Highway 23, parallels the tracks. Witnesses said the loaded trailer was wrapped around the locomotive’s nose and was carried down the tracks until the train ground to a halt.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both BNSF and Operation Lifesaver all know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings. 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 accidents by as much as 96%.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, 16 BNSF trains use the unguarded crossing daily at maximum allowable speeds of 49 mph.
The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office was conducting the investigation into the tragedy.