(Portal, North Dakota – April 3, 2012)
The 50-year-old driver of an 18-wheeler was killed when his semi was struck by a Canadian Pacific freight train just before noon Tuesday morning at a dangerous, unguarded county road crossing of CPR tracks just east of Sawyer, ND.
The victim, Kevin Sys, a local resident, had his tractor struck by the train and the cab dragged a half mile down the tracks before stopping, where the chassis burst into flame from the diesel fuel spilled. The trailer ripped away from the tractor and remained at the point of impact.
Only passive railroad crossbuck signs mark the crossing, which lacks any form of automatic protection such as flashing lights, gates or bells.
Responding to the tragedy were the Velva and Sawyer Fire Departments, whose personnel extinguished the flames, the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Ward County Sheriff’s Office.