(Sidney, Montana – November 1, 2011)
A man and a woman, driving eastbound on Richland County, MT Road 128 in their pickup truck Tuesday night about 8:00 P.M. were both killed when they collided with a train of black oil tank cars at a crossing with the Yellowstone Valley Railroad in extreme northeast Montana near Sidney, MT.
The crossing where the couple collided is equipped only with standard, passive railroad crossbuck signs and lacks any form of electronic protection such as lights, bells or gates.
Killed instantly was the driver, James D. Morrow, 46, while his companion, Cheryl L. Johnston, 53, was taken first to Sidney Health Center and then was airlifted to St. Vincent’s Healthcare in Billings, MT, where she passed away from her injuries Wednesday morning.
Richland County Coroner Marvin Johnson said that the victims’ truck was so tightly wedged beneath a tank car that a farmer’s tractor had to be employed to extricate the vehicle. The YVRR is a former Burlington Northern Santa Fe line that was purchased by the Pittsburg, KS-headquartered WATCO short line conglomerate and is operated as one of the privately-owned corporation’s 23 railroad companies.