(Blunt, South Dakota – August 17, 2017)
A 16-year-old Pierre, SD semi driver was taken to Avera St. Mary’s Hospital where he was admitted with life-threatening injuries after the twin-trailer truck he was using to haul wheat collided with a Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern freight train. The collision derailed the locomotive. It occurred at the dangerous and non-gated crossing of US Highway 14/34 near the small town of Blunt, SD at about 3:00 P.M., CDT Thursday afternoon.
The collision that left young Colt Brink of Pierre fighting for his life came at the Genesee & Wyoming owned crossing. The young victim was entrapped in the mangled cab, from which he was rescued by two witnesses before the wreckage became engulfed in flames. An estimated 800 bushels of wheat covered the highway, causing a shutdown of both road and rail traffic in the area for over eight hours.
Reporter Stephen Lee of The Pierre Capital-Journal wrote that residents described the crossing as “There are no barriers or crossing arms at the crossing, which has signs with red lights that flash when a train is approaching,” but that “the long hill (on the highway) can make it difficult to stop a loaded semi-tractor-and-trailer rig at the crossing.”
A similar semi-train collision occurred at the same crossing prior to G&W’s acquisition of the 670-mile-long rail property from Canadian Pacific subsidiary control in 2014. According to information submitted by the railroad to the Federal Railroad Administration, train cross over the crossing at maximum speeds of 25 mph across and an average of four trains use it daily.