(Plummer, Minnesota – November 15, 2017)
A driver and her passenger were killed at about 10:47 A.M., CST Wednesday. in far northwest Red Lake County, MN when their 2015 Ford Taurus was struck by one of a daily average of a half dozen Canadian Pacific (former Soo Line) trains at a dangerous, unguarded railroad-highway crossing. Trains regularly traverse this rail crossings at a maximum allowable speed of 40 mph struck a
The vehicle was driven by Emilie G. Skjerven, 78, of Plummer, MN and her passenger was Carol C. Gerady, 79, also of Plummer. Both women were killed as a result of the collision. The crossing is just off U.S. Highway 59, north of Plummer. The crossing is located on a private roadway. As a result, it is unclear if the train ever blew the train horn prior to entering the crossing. Both victims were said to be wearing seatbelts and were pronounced dead at the scene.
The single track road/rail intersection did not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates, to warn 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. Both Canadian Pacific 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%.