Railroad News

Star High School Athlete Seriously Injured by CN Train at Unguarded Iowa Crossing

(Dunlap, Iowa – October 5, 2012)

A starting defensive standout for the Boyer Valley Senior High School Bulldogs was seriously injured just before 8:00 A.M. Friday morning as his 2008 Ford F-150 pickup truck was struck by a westbound Canadian National freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Remsen Street near the center of Dunlap, IA as he drove to school.

Jason Hoffman, who has been among the team leaders in tackles, assists, pass interceptions and fumble recoveries for Boyer Valley, probably never saw nor heard the CN freight train as it approached CN/Remsen Street crossing, which is “protected” only by standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs and lacks any active protection such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates, items which railroad sources say would prevent around 90% of all railroad grade crossing accidents.

Ironically, only a block further southeast on Remsen Street, Union Pacific tracks parallel the CN with a double tracks main line that accommodates 56 trains daily at a top speed of 70 mph is fully equipped with lights, bells and gates. Meanwhile, the CN crossing has an average of four trains daily at a maximum speed of 40 mph. While the Federal Railroad Administration’s records say there has never been an accident at the fully protected UPRR crossing, Friday’s accident marked the third accident and the third injury incurred at the CN crossing.

The victim was flown by Lifenet helicopter to a hospital in Omaha, where he was admitted in undisclosed condition.

The accident was under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol, Dunlap Police Dept., Dunlap Fire & Rescue, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. and Canadian National officials.