(Linden, Michigan – February 15, 2014)
Two men, traveling from one farm property to another, died Saturday afternoon just after 3:00 P.M. when a northwest-bound Canadian National freight train carrying new automobiles smashed into their northbound black 2003 Chevrolet pickup truck at a dangerous and unguarded private crossing in the Argentine Township section of Linden, MI, carrying both the truck and the two victims almost a half mile down the tracks on the front of the locomotive.
The driver of the truck and owner of both farm properties, Theodore (Ted) Pudvay, 67, of Linden and his passenger, Robert Bosch, 31, of Gaines, MI were both extricated from the wreckage of the truck and pronounced dead at the scene.
According to both Federal Railroad Administration records and news media photos taken at the crash site, the crossing of CN tracks, which carries a daily average of four trains at a top speed of 60 mph, had no signage or signals whatsoever, creating a situation where neither of the victims had any protective devices, such as flashing lights, bells and crossing gates, to afford them warning that the train’s arrival at the crossing was imminent.
It is virtually certain that lights and gates would have prevented this incident. Both (Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National) and Operation Lifesaver know 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%.
Argentine firefighters and police officers both responded to the tragic scene, as did a Michigan State Police crash reconstruction specialist and CNR police and investigators.