(Lewellen, Nebraska – February 15, 2011) An 85-year-old, lifelong area resident died about 3:20 P.M. at a rural railroad crossing of Union Pacific Railroad tracks about a mile west of this small, western Nebraska town. According to the Sidney Sun-Telegraph, the crossing has no gates or lights, just crossbuck signs. The Nebraska State Patrol said that Clayton Brunt’s pickup truck was moving across the grade crossing when the train struck it, killing Brunt, who was married and the father of three, grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of nine.
Railroads notoriously neglect railroad crossings which traverse rural roads. In cities, typically a local city planner will keep railroads honest about creating safe crossings. In rural counties, less resources prevents the same sort of local government oversight. Railroads take advantage by leaving crossings unguarded, even though they know putting lights and gates at a crossing significantly reduces accidents at railroad crossings (provided they work properly).