A Grafton, Iowa man pulling a chemical sprayer has died after a collision with a Canadian Pacific train earlier this week.
According to the Iowa State Patrol report, Brian Gene Nack, 59, was driving a 1995 John Deere and pulling a chemical sprayer when he attempted to head south on Ulmus Road in Worth County. After failing to yield at the railroad crossing, a train heading northeast struck the sprayer and drug the tractor and sprayer several yards.
Nack was ejected and died from his injuries.
According to the Globe Gazette, the crossing, northeast of Plymouth, is marked with a sign and a stop sign. The railroad tracks cross Ulmus, a gravel road which runs north and south, diagonally, from southwest to northeast.
Recently-released U.S. government statistics reveal that railroad grade crossing incidents and rail trespass casualties increased in 2017, according to rail safety education nonprofit Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI). Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) statistics show U.S. crossing collisions rose 3.1 percent, crossing deaths increased 7.4 percent and crossing injuries decreased 4.3 percent from 2016 to 2017. Total casualties (deaths and injuries) from rail trespassing climbed 13.3 percent in 2017; trespass deaths grew 22.3 percent and trespass injuries increased 4.6 percent from their levels in 2016.
“Increasing public awareness is absolutely paramount to helping people make better decisions around railroad grade crossings and tracks,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “The Federal Railroad Administration, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has re-launched our national ‘Stop. Trains Can’t.’ campaign to further educate people about the dangers of grade crossings and to reach key, at-risk demographics. The Department of Transportation is unwavering, deliberate, and committed to this important issue.”
For 2017, the rail trespass casualty rate (deaths and injuries per million train-miles) was 1.55, its highest level in the last decade, and the highway-rail incident rate (incidents per million train-miles) was 3.01, an increase from 2016, according to FRA preliminary statistics.
States with the most crossing collisions in 2017 were Texas, California, Illinois, Florida, and Georgia. States with the most trespasser casualties (deaths and injuries combined) in 2017 were California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.