Old 12-12-2003, 04:31 PM   #1
Senior Member
busyEMT's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 902
Default Rarely heard: Crews point of view.

Driver blamed for crash that killed four at Anoka train crossing
Jim Adams, Star Tribune

Published December 12, 2003

The crash that killed four young people at a railroad crossing in Anoka in September was caused mainly by the driver's ignoring a flashing cross arm signaling the train that ripped the car in half, investigators found.

The investigators concluded in a report released Thursday that traces of alcohol were found in two of the people killed in the crash, but it was an insignificant amount. Anoka police also found beer cans in the car's wreckage, but they appeared to be unopened, the reports said.

Police detected no sign of drug or alcohol use by the Burlington Northern train engineer or conductor.

The crash scene was "consistent with the Chevrolet Cavalier having driven around the cross arm for southbound Ferry St.," according to a reconstruction report by State Patrol Sgt. Scott Trautner.

He said he wasn't able to determine which of the three people thrown from the car was driving the car, which had a manual transmission. However, he ruled out Harry Rhoades, 19, of Blaine, as the driver because his body was found belted in the front passenger seat after the crash.

Anoka police reports indicated that the driver was probably the car's owner, Brian L. Frazier, 20, of Blaine.

The mothers of the two other people in the car -- Bridgette Shannon, 17, of Ramsey, and Corey Chase, 20, of Coon Rapids -- told police that the two didn't know how to drive a manual transmission. And Frazier's roommate told police he rarely let anyone else drive his car., which bore the personalized license plate, THE FRAZ.

Police said that except for the train's engineer, Bradley Bellmore of Glyndon, Minn., there were no witnesses to the accident.

Bellmore, 42, told an Anoka County sheriff's deputy that he couldn't stop his 6,000-ton train in time.

"As we come up to the crossing and I was blowing the whistle, I seen a vehicle go around the gates and ... at 58, 59 miles an hour, there was no time to react," he said.

He said he "knew the vehicle wasn't going to get across," adding, "It looked like it was full of people." His conductor looked up when he heard Bellmore yell.

"I looked back, and I could see the car flipping through the air on my side of the engine," said Timothy Langeberg, 52. Both men said they thought they saw one or two cars waiting at the crossing, reports said.

The Sept. 26 crash happened about 10 p.m. The Ferry Street crossing road was dry, and no equipment defects were found, the State Patrol's report said. Crash expert Trautner said a westbound freight train is clearly visible to traffic on Ferry Street day or night.

An Anoka officer at the scene that night saw Burlington Northern workers activating the flashing crossing signals and raising and lowering the crossing arm after the crash and observed they seemed to operate properly.

Trautner noted, however, that Burlington Northern failed to provide signal-crossing data that railroad officials told him is logged about how far away the train is when the signal is activated. A railroad official, Lynn Ross, said she has been unable to get the information to Trautner, but plans to do so.

An analysis of the car's brake lights indicated that they were not on when the car was hit by the train, Trautner said. He found the main factors in the accident were careless driving and failure to stop at the railroad crossing.

The report marks the end of the 2 1/2-month investigation, and the case has been closed, said sheriff's Capt. Bob Aldrich.

Aaron Florin- Click Here to view my photos at RailPictures.Net!
Visit Twin Cities Railfan.com
Visit the Twin Cities Railfan forums.

Don't do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics!
busyEMT is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 01:59 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.