(Bricelyn, Minnesota – November 29, 2011)
A Minnesota truck driver lost not only his rig and an expensive John Deere excavator he was hauling, but also was given a traffic citation for “a railroad stop sign violation” Tuesday afternoon about 2:30 P.M. when his 18-wheeler was struck by a Union Pacific freight train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Faribault County Road 2 just east of Bricelyn, MN.
Shannon Lee Sunken, 35, of Blue Earth, MN was eastbound on the county road, which immediately crosses two rail lines of UPRR within the space of a few hundred feet, along with a passenger, Nicholas Lee Cooen, 31, when his semi trailer was hit by the UP train.
The crossing is equipped only with passive railroad crossbuck and standard highway “stop” signs, lacking any form of automatic protection, such as gates, lights or bells, for the driving public. The area had seen considerable snowfall.
The driver said he stopped at the stop sign prior to the crossing, but did not see the train, but police obviously believed otherwise, undoubtedly having been guests of UPRR at a “Grade Crossing Collision Investigation Course” in the past.