(Percival, Iowa – September 21, 2012)
A man who, for many years, was the radio voice of the popular “Bartlett Grain Report” as well as a long-time grain elevator manager from Nebraska City, NE, was killed instantly around noon Friday when the 2010 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck he was driving was struck on the passenger side by a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Dike Road and BNSF railroad tracks near Payne Junction in Fremont County, IA.
Robert Aksamit, 84, was eastbound and nearing 225th Avenue, which parallels BNSF tracks, when the train collided with him at the Dike Road/BNSF crossing, which has no active protection, like flashing lights, crossing gates or bells, relying simply upon a pair of passive railroad crossbuck signs to protect motorists from trains. Railroad sources have long claimed that gates and lights could prevent around 90% of all such accidents.
Ironically, there was discussion during the July 3 Fremont County Board of Supervisors meeting with regard to eliminating both Dike Road south of Highway 2, an action which would obviously eliminate the crossing where Friday’s tragedy took place. Fremont County Engineer Dan Davis was concerned regarding the fact that property owner Wells Fargo was in favor of the elimination, but the Board agreed with Davis’s suggestion of first having an informational meeting with property owners to determine their concerns before proceeding any further with the proposal.
Responding to Friday’s tragic accident were the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa State Patrol, Hamburg Fire & Rescue and Percival Fire & Rescue. The victim’s body was transported to Ankeny, IA for an autopsy after being pronounced dead at the scene.