(Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota – May 13, 2017)
Three teenage boys were sent to an Aurora, MN hospital with undisclosed injuries after their Dodge pickup truck was struck by a Canadian National train. The boys’ truck was travelling westbound when it was struck by the northbound train at the dangerous and unguarded Canadian National railroad crossing of Skibo Road, near Pine Street, just outside of Hoyt Lakes, MN. The collision occurred at about 4:00 P.M., CDT, Saturday afternoon.
Tyler Tedrick, 19, of Virginia, MN, Lonny Callender, 18, of Hoyt Lakes and an unidentified 14-year-old were all transported to Essentia Health-Northern Pines Hospital. All three were admitted in undisclosed condition.
Heavy woods along the railroad right-of-way make for a situation where a motorist must endanger himself and his passengers by becoming exposed to oncoming train traffic in order to see down the tracks. Moreover, even though the Federal Railroad Administration’s railroad crossing inventory file says a daily average of a dozen trains traverse the crossing at maximum allowable speeds of 40 mph, there are no active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn unsuspecting motorists of an oncoming train.
It is virtually certain that if this crossing was protected by active warning devices, this collision would not have occurred. Canadian National and Operation Lifesaver know that 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 and gates offer the ability to drastically reduce the number of vehicle/train accidents by as much as 96%.