(Bowman, North Dakota – July 17, 2015)
A local man on his way to a rural residence about six miles east of Bowman, ND was struck and killed as he attempted to drive his 2010 Dodge Caravan minivan across Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of 139th Avenue, SW about 1:40 P.M. Thursday afternoon. His northbound vehicle was struck by an eastbound BNSF freight train.
Law enforcement authorities identified the victim, who was thrown from his vehicle by the impact of the train, only as an 89-year-old local man.
Although Federal Railroad Administration statistics show that the BNSF/139th Ave., SW crossing is used by an average of five trains daily at a top allowable speed of 40 mph, there are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates, at the crossing. It is virtually certain that if this crossing was equipped with lights and gates, this accident would not have happened. Both BNSF and Operation Lifesaver 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%.