Railroad News

Montana Motorist Seriously Injured at Unguarded Rail Link Crossing

(Cyr, Montana — February 19, 2019)

A US Navy veteran and rural firefighter was severely injured last Tuesday, when his vehicle was struck by a westbound BNSF coal train traveling on Montana Rail Link tracks near Cyr, MT about 9:30 AM, MST.  The crossing collision occurred at Daigle Lane in Mineral County.

The victim’s white Chevrolet pickup was hit and dragged down the tracks until the train came to a stop. The victim, Roy Schutter, of Alberton, MT, who just last year became a wildfire fireman for Ninemile Ranger District after a six year hitch in the USN, had to be extricated by Frenchtown Rural FD firefighters. Schutter was rushed to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, MT where he was admitted for treatment of his crash-related injuries.

Schutter’s family established a GoFundMe page to help pay his anticipated lengthy medical treatment.

After talking to Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jourdan Gulick, Missoula, MT Daily Missoulian News Writer Kim Briggeman noted that “There are no signals or lights” at the Daigle Road/MRL intersection.

The crossing is crossed daily by 23 MRL trains at a maximum allowable speed of 40 mph according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Crossing Index. Despite the high number of trains traversing the crossing, there are not any active warning devices, including low cost warning devices, to warn motorists of an oncoming train.  Moreover, since the crossing is listed as private, it is unclear if BNSF blew its horn on approach to this crossing.  The lack of train horn and active warning devices likely played a significant role in contributing to cause this collision.