Crash victim escapes oncoming trainPERHAM - A motorist whose car rolled across Perham railroad tracks--and then was nearly run over by a freight train--was air lifted to MeritCare Fargo Saturday morning.
By: Louis Hoglund Perham Enterprise Bulletin, Worthington Daily Globe
PERHAM - A motorist whose car rolled across Perham railroad tracks--and then was nearly run over by a freight train--was air lifted to MeritCare Fargo Saturday morning.
The accident occurred about 6:50 a.m., Oct. 18, a car left the old highway, flew across a deep ditch, and across the tracks near the new Barrel O’ Fun production facility on the west side of Perham.
The car cleared one set of tracks, but landed on a second set near the Barrel O’ Fun parking lot. The driver was ejected and landed directly on one set of tracks.
Burlington Northern was called immediately, according to Jim Rieber, Perham Emergency Services Director.
“We have a phone number we call if something is on he tracks,” said Rieber. “I called a second time to confirm, and I was informed that there was a shut down order to halt trains through Perham.”
When a set of locomotive headlights appeared on the eastern horizon--rumbling full speed into Perham--emergency crews scrambled to get the car accident victim off the tracks.
“We were still working to stabilize the victim when we saw the train coming,” said Rieber. “We moved him off the tracks within two minutes of the train coming through.”
“It was nervewracking,” said Perham Police Department officer Ron Smith, who was one of the first at the scene.
The westbound train was near downtown Perham when the tracks were cleared. Meanwhile, Perham Volunteer Fire Department crews--fearing another train would descend on the scene--pulled the wrecked vehicle from the other set of tracks.
“The train, which was supposed to be stopped, hadn’t even slowed down,” said Rieber. “We’ll be having a discussion with the railroad people today.”
The victim, who was only identified as an Ottertail man, was transported to Perham Memorial Hospital and Home. He was then airlifted to Fargo with a fractured leg and abdominal injuries, said Rieber.