(Hastings, Nebraska – July 12, 2018)
A 62-year-old Hastings, Nebraska resident and his dog were both killed at about 10:12 A.M., CDT Thursday morning when his northbound pickup truck was struck by a westbound Union Pacific freight train. The train was bound for Oregon from Kansas City when it struck the truck at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of double UPRR tracks and Osage Road in Adams County about three miles northwest of Hastings, NE.
Mark Zimmerman became the first death recorded in the third accident to occur at the road/rail crossing which is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates. The crossing accommodates daily average of 39 UP freight trains at a maximum allowable speed of 60 mph. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this collision would not have happened. Both Union Pacific 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%.
The victim’s pet dog also died at the crossing where two previous collisions had resulted in one serious injury and a non-injury crash on occasions prior to Thursday’s tragedy.