(Fall Creek, Wisconsin – April 10, 2015)
A 29-year-old public works employee of the Village of Fall Creek, WI was killed by a train early Saturday morning at about 7:46 A.M., CDT as he used a large, mounted lawn-mower equipped with a brush to clear walkways in order to clear snow from the publicly-maintained bike/walking/recreational trail path that crosses Union Pacific Railroad tracks at a dangerous and unguarded intersection near Kennedy Court and just north of U.S. Highway 12 and the Fall Creek Fire Station.
The village employee, Dustin Keith of Altoona, WI, was working in an easterly direction when he was struck and killed by one of four daily UPRR trains that cross daily at 40 mph, according to information on the rail corridor provided via the Federal Railroad Administration’s Crossing Inventory List.
No active warning devices exist at the crossing, which is on a winding pathway that causes foot and bike traffic to almost parallel the path before an abrupt crossing of the railroad track is made. Nationwide, many pedestrian/recreational trail/bike-path crossings are equipped with flashing lights and even crossing gates to prevent tragedies like occurred Saturday, and the victim probably never saw or heard the train’s approach.
Fall Creek Chief of Police Chad Dachel said the eastbound UPRR train was powered by three locomotives.