Larimore, ND: Two dead in school bus collision

7 Jan

A train collided with a school bus on a passive level crossing with fatal consequences. The school bus driver and a high school student were fatally injured and of the further 12 students injured three are prorated as having sustained very serious injuries. The collision was on a level crossing protected by stop signs near Larimore which is located about 25 miles from Grand Forks in north-east North Dakota. This level crossing of the BNSF right-of-way is approached over a gravel county road. The accident occurred at about 15.40 on January 5th, 2015 in good weather conditions.

Both of those sustaining fatal injuries and a number of those sustaining injuries had been ejected from the northbound school bus as it was struck on the passenger side by the westbound freight train. Therefore low sun is unlikely to have been a causal factor in an accident that the North Dakota Highway Patrol has attributed to the bus driver failing to stop at the level crossing as required by the stop signs.

This passive level crossing was the location of a further fatal accident in 2009 after which there were calls for it to be upgraded. BNSF has said that it is the highways authority, in this case the county, that has the lead responsibility for determining and funding the appropriate level of protection at a level crossing.

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