(Ladysmith, Wisconsin – February 11, 2014)
A 28-year-old local resident died following his unsuccessful attempt to cross Canadian National Railroad tracks at the Miner Street crossing in Ladysmith, WI Tuesday at about 11:57 A.M. Jacob L. Lebal was walking east on Miner Street when the southbound CNR freight train hit him at 47 mph.
The CNR Police called the Rusk County Sheriff’s Dept. Dispatch Center, informing them that one of their trains had struck a pedestrian at the Lake Avenue (U.S. Highway 8) crossing, and emergency units were directed to the scene, but could find no victim. Lebal was later found, still alive, near the Miner Street crossing, where plowed snow had been stacked higher than most passenger automobiles at the crossing, which has no accommodation for pedestrians to cross, forcing them either into the street or, as in this case, through the snow banks.
Once found, the victim was rushed to Rusk County Memorial Hospital in Ladysmith where he later died of his injuries. Whether or not the misdirected and thusly delayed search for the pedestrian was critical to his possibility of survival is not known at this time. The Rusk County Coroner’s Office and CN Police are investigating the situation.
Ladysmith Police, Fire and EMS as well as the Wisconsin State Patrol and Rusk County Sheriff’s Dept. all responded to the scene of the tragedy. The stopped train created a huge traffic problem as every crossing of CN tracks in town except one was blocked by the train for at least two hours.
The Miner Street crossing is equipped with lights, bells and gates to stop highway traffic, but there are no facilities for pedestrians.