Driver injured after minivan collides with North Shore Scenic Railroad train
Just a day after Duluth police officers focused the community’s attention on railroad crossings in eastern Duluth, a driver who reportedly ignored railroad crossing signs was struck by a North Shore Scenic Railroad train on Friday.
Authorities said an 87-year-old Duluth man was driving his 2002 Ford Windstar van north on 45th Avenue East from London Road when he drove in front of an approaching train at about 3:30 p.m. The train went into emergency braking and sounded its horn before hitting the left side of the vehicle.
The driver was taken to St. Luke’s hospital with non-life threatening injuries, officials said. He was issued a citation for failing to yield to a train at a railroad crossing.
No one on the train reported injuries.
The Duluth Police Department, Duluth Fire Department and other emergency services assisted at the scene.
On Thursday, Duluth police officers had stopped motorists and bicyclists on 43rd, 51st and 58th avenues East near London Road to raise safety awareness at railroad crossings and Lakewalk intersections.
“Most people go through or roll through stop signs over here,” said Lakeside-Lester Park community police officer Russ Bradley. “We thought it would be a good thing to address this issue. There is a need for it.”
Authorities said they stopped 26 motorists who failed to stop at the railroad-crossing stop signs on the avenues, and 18 bicyclists who failed to stop for the Lakewalk stop signs. Officers also issued a driver a citation for unacceptable driving conduct.
On a positive note, the Lakeside/Lester Park Citizen Patrol handed out 30 Dairy Queen free ice cream cone coupons to kids wearing helmets while riding bikes.
“We want to make sure we are on top of these things,” Bradley said. “We want everyone to be safe and alert.”
Bradley said they are considering hosting another safety awareness event around the time school starts.
Ken Buehler, general manager of the North Shore Scenic Railroad, urged motorists to use caution when approaching railroad crossings.
“When driving obey all traffic signs at railroad crossings,” Buehler said. “If people don’t obey the signs they get hurt. The train usually wins.”