(Hastings, Nebraska – July 12, 2018)
A 62-year-old Hastings, NE 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. The collision occurred at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of double Union Pacific tracks and Osage Road in Adams County about three miles northwest of Hastings, NE.
Mark Zimmerman became the first death recorded and the third accident to occur at the road/rail crossing. The crossing is not equipped with any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn of the daily average of 39 UP freight trains that cross Osage Road at maximum speeds of 60 mph. It is virtually certain that this collision would not have occurred if the crossing was equipped with active warning devices. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know that lights and gates are the most effective type of protection at railroad crossings and studies have confirmed that lights and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train collisions 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.