RUDD — One man was killed and another airlifted to Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn., following a train-pickup collision in Rudd Saturday morning, reported the Iowa State Patrol.
Brian Allen Leckness, 32, of Waterloo, a passenger in the pickup, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, Gary Lee Eilers, 73, also of Waterloo, was airlifted by Mercy Air Med to Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, and then to Rochester, said the State Patrol. He was listed in critical condition at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester on Saturday evening.
According to the State Patrol, Eilers failed to yield at the crossing about 8 a.m. as he traveled north across the tracks and the vehicle was pushed one-quarter mile west down the tracks by the Canadian Pacific train.
The crossing is posted with a yield sign.
Accidents at one of the four crossings in town have happened often, said resident Richard Burcham. He had heard the ambulance sirens before he realized there was an accident on the tracks.
He said residents have become all-too-familiar with collisions at the tracks.
“There have been three accidents in three months” at the crossings, he said.
“When they’re (trains) aren’t stopping, they come through at a pretty good clip,” he said.
He said only one of the four crossings is gated, on the County Road T26 crossing that goes through the central part of town.
Yield signs are posted at the other crossings, at First Street, Fourth Street and Fifth Street.
City Clerk Lori Peterson agreed the trains can travel “pretty quickly” through town.
Still, she said, she was surprised someone did not see a train coming. The crossing “is wide open.” Both Peterson and Burcham said the trains blow whistles long in advance of the crossings through town.
Andy Cummings, a spokesman for Canadian Pacific Railroad, said the company extended “its deepest sympathy” to the families of vehicle’s occupants.
He said he could not discuss the accident at length, since the railroad continues to conduct its investigation.
He confirmed the freight train was traveling westbound on the tracks. The train carried a two-passenger crew.
“I can tell you that Canadian Pacific will be focusing on how the vehicle came to be on the tracks” at the crossing. He was not sure how fast the train was traveling.
The Iowa State Patrol, Mason City and Nora Springs ambulance services; Rudd and Nora Springs fire departments; Mercy Air Med and the Floyd County Sheriff's Department were on the scene.