(Clarke County, Iowa – May 27, 2021)
A third victim in the tragic vehicle and BNSF train collision just east of Murray, Iowa succumbed to his severe injuries on May 29, 2021. Rylon Todd Cook, 15, had been seated in the back passenger side and was transported to a Des Moines hospital where he was later pronounced deceased. Two other passengers, Brooklynn Dawn Eggers, 14, Gavin James Werner, 15, were pronounced deceased at the scene. All passengers were residents of Murray.
The collision occurred just east of Murray as the teens were traveling down the gravel road of Kansas Street. The Kansas Street Crossing is a double mainline track for BNSF and accommodates an average of 26 freight trains daily at speeds up to 79 miles per hour. Shockingly, the crossing does not have any active warning devices, such as lights and gates.
The crossing where this collision occurred has also been the sight of at least three prior collisions. If functioning properly, these safety devices would have almost certainly prevented this triple fatality and the three-prior collision. BNSF 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 collisions by as much as 96%.