(Lincoln County, Nebraska – June 15, 2012)
A 24-year-old Sutherland, NE farmer was seriously injured about 3:30 P.M. Friday afternoon when he waited at a dangerous, unguarded private crossing for a westbound Union Pacific train to pass, only to have his Case 225CVT tractor hit by a second train from the opposite direction hidden by the first.
According to the Lincoln County, NE Sheriff’s Office, farmer Justin Christner “could not see the eastbound train because his view was obstructed by the westbound train.” The victim was taken to Great Plains Regional Medical Center in North Platte, NE for treatment of multiple injuries and was still hospitalized in stable condition Monday.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the crossing where the accident occurred accommodates 107 trains daily at speeds of up to 70 mph on a triple-track main line. Yet, the crossing is “protected” only by a single passive railroad crossbuck sign, completely lacking any automatic devices such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates.
According to a news release issued by the LCSO, “Union Pacific Special Agents assisted with the sheriff department’s investigation.”