RUDD, IA — One person is dead and another injured after a fatal accident involving a train in Rudd, Iowa.
Authorities say a truck failed to yield at a railroad crossing sign, hit a train and was then dragged nearly three blocks.
The passenger of the truck, 32-year-old Brian Leckness of Waterloo was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver, 73-year-old Gary Eilers of Waterloo was injured.
They were taken first to Mercy Medical Center North Iowa and then transported to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Neither men were wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident.
“The truck got in front of the train and trains don’t stop very fast and so the train is stopping as fast as it can, It has emergency equipment on it so it can stop as fast as it does but there’s a lot of weight behind it and so what happens is that the train will drag the vehicle a long distance,” said Trooper Nathan Snieder of Iowa State Patrol.
While the accident did end up on 6th street, the car was actually initially hit by the train on 4th street, something that despite that railroad crossing not having crossbars, one local man says these types of accidents can be hard to prevent.
“In a rural area, you have a lot of open crossways and to me common sense tells you to use a little extra caution, pay a little extra attention, look both ways and once again the factor in all that is, we’re all human. We sometimes forget,” said Darwin Rieman.
Darwin Reiman was at work when he witnessed the aftermath of this tragic accident.
“The intersection doesn’t have the bars, the intersection is not that heavily used. A very open intersection and so it was just a horrible accident,” said Darwin.
In many rural towns, like Rudd, not all railroad crossings have crossbars or even lights warning drivers of oncoming trains. That’s why authorities say it’s imperative that motorists are paying attention.
“If a driver comes to railroad tracks and there’s any type of warning devices or if there’s just railroad tracks to be extra careful because a car will always lose to a train,” said Trooper Snieder.
It’s a habit Darwin believes could save your life.
“You have the ability to see in all directions when you come across that intersection, where once again, as long as your paying attention, you probably have no trouble,” says Darwin.