Man in Rochester Hospital after Train Collision

One man is dead and another is seriously injured and in a Rochester Hospital after a collision with a train in Northern Iowa.

The Iowa State Patrol states that the crash happened on April 20 when a pickup truck driven by Gary Lee Eilers, 73, of Waterloo drove onto the tracks. That is when a Canadian Pacific train collided with the pickup and pushed it approximately a quarter of a mile down the tracks.

A passenger in the truck, Brian Allen Leckness, 32, was killed. Eilers was flown to a hospital in Mason City and then moved to a Rochester, Minnesota hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

According to the state patrol, Eilers did not yield at the crossing as he proceeded to cross it around 8 a.m. As he drove north across the tracks, that is when the collision occurred.

There was a yield sign posted at the crossing.

Accidents have happened often at this particular train crossing, according to a resident in the area. He said he has heard the ambulance sirens in the past and realized that there had been an accident when he heard them this time.

Other residents have also said they are very familiar with collisions at the crossing. In fact, one resident stated that there had been three accidents at the track in a three month period. Some cite the reason being that the train does not have to come to a stop any time soon before approaching that particular crossing, resulting in the trains traveling at rather high speeds. Plus, of the four crossings in the community, only one is gated and it is not the one in which this collision took place.

However, the City Clerk expressed concern that the driver did not see the train coming because the crossing is very open and trains do blow their whistles long before coming through the town.

The railroad has expressed its condolences, but it has not released any more information or discussed the accident at length since the railroad is conducting its own investigation. It has only been confirmed that the train was traveling west on the tracks and that the train carried two crew members at the time of the collision.

Canadian Pacific has said that they will be focusing on how the truck got up onto the tracks and has stated it is not certain how fast the train was traveling.