Authorities: Spikes taken from Eyota rail could have caused a derailment

KIMT News 3 – Olmsted County officials believe a possible derailment of propane train cars was thwarted.

Authorities say rail workers with Canadian Pacific noticed that 17 spikes were taken off one side of the rail Tuesday.

Officials with the company believe the suspects were not using the spikes for scrap, but rather trying to make the cars derail.

Law enforcement say that propane cars are seen often in the Eyota area where this happened. They believe the cars could have derailed if the spikes were not noticed before.

The damage is substantial but according to local law enforcement, it’s what could have happened, that has them very concerned.

“It’s the intentional acts of vandalism or acts around the railroad that they think is fun and games sometimes, where people forget that’s what we’re really worried about,” said Sheriff Kevin Pals of the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Sheriff Pals, railroad vandalism is a common act that most people may not take seriously, but they should.

Vandalism of any kind that leads to damage or even death on railroad property could land you in jail for up to 50 years and it’s something Jim Ewalt of Iowa Operation Lifesaver hopes to make very clear.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it is private property. They figured its the easy path to get through to another location. Whether it’s here in town or wherever you go, you see a lot of people out on the tracks,” said Ewalt.

“I’m not sure we’re ever going to be able to stop it, but I would say that a message to the public,  would be, if you see something that doesn’t look right, call it in and we’ll check it out,” said Sheriff Pals.

The train tracks located near Eyota are well-known for propane transportation.

Authorities say they have reason to believe this may have made the track a target.

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