Railroad News

Wichita Semi Driver Injured in Wreck at Dangerous, Unguarded UPRR Crossing

(Ault, Colorado – August 18, 2012)

The driver of a semi-trailer truck loaded with onions was injured early Saturday morning at about 6:49 A.M. as he left Faberburg Produce on Weld County Road 80, a mile south of Ault, CO and three miles north of Eaton, CO. His truck was struck at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of the road and Union Pacific Railroad by a southbound UPRR freight train.

James Burnham, 29, of Wichita, KS was taken to North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, CO with undetermined injuries as his rig was totaled in the collision. Even though the road/rail intersection of WC Road 80 and UP Railroad tracks has now been the site of 11 collisions between trains and highway vehicles, resulting in one death and one non-fatal injury, nothing but passive signage – railroad crossbuck and highway stop signs – protect the public from the 16 trains, which include Amtrak passenger trains, that cross there daily at speeds as high as 79 mph, authorities see no need for the active protective devices like flashing lights, bells and crossing gates which have been shown to be 90% effective in preventing such crashes.

Union Pacific tracks closely parallel U.S. Highway 85, and the crossing of CR 80 is at a difficult angle, creating a sight differential for motorists.

The accident was investigated by Colorado State Patrol Corporal Eric Wynn and officers of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.