(Hammond, Wisconsin – February 3, 2014)
The as-yet unidentified driver of a septic tank service truck was killed on impact Monday morning just before 11:00 A.M. when his southbound vehicle was struck by a westbound Union Pacific train at the dangerous and unguarded crossing of 150th Street just west of the community of Hammond, WI in St. Croix County.
The passive signage which was placed at the crossing, where four UPRR trains pass daily at a top timetable speed of 50 mph, consists solely of standard railroad cross-buck and highway “yield” signs, neither of which can give motorists warning of oncoming trains. Only a properly operating active crossing warning system consisting of flashing lights, bells and crossing gates give motorists warning of an oncoming train.
It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both Union Pacific and Operation Lifesaver know 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 can gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.
St. Croix County Sheriff John Shilts said that investigators were still on the scene Monday afternoon studying the aspects of the tragedy.
The victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was not immediately named pending notification of relatives.