(Worthington, Minnesota – November 1, 2015)
The lack of crossing gates at an otherwise signalized (flashing lights) crossing at Flower Lane and Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Worthington, MN was undoubtedly a major factor in a horrible collision Sunday afternoon at about 3:24 P.M., CST.
Although still unidentified by authorities, one of the three occupants was pronounced dead at the scene by the Nobles County Coroner, while a second passed away after being transported to Sanford Worthington Medical Center. The third occupant of the car was first taken to SWMC, but was later airlifted to a trauma center in Sioux Falls, SD for treatment of what were described as “life-threatening injuries”.
The crossing is on a stretch of Flower Lane road which connects the roads of SW First Avenue and Gateway Drive. These streets are heavily-travelled and parallel the single UPRR railroad track which runs through the community. According to the Federal Railroad Administration inventory, the crossing accommodates a daily average of five trains which operate at a top speed of 40 mph. Tragically, this accident likely could have been prevented. As previously mentioned, this crossing lacked automatic gates, which have been proven to reduce accidents by over two-thirds when upgraded from solely flashing lights..
Worthington Police Dept. and Nobles County Sheriff’s officers were being “assisted’’ by Union Pacific Railroad officials as the investigation into the tragedy continued for hours Sunday afternoon.