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Drivers who failed to stop at rural railroad crossings caused two accidents in Cowlitz County in less than 18 hours, according to authorities.

A dump truck collided with an on-track railway service vehicle at a private crossing north of Castle Rock at about 9 a.m. this morning, injuring the dump truck driver and causing about an hour’s delay on the BNSF main line through Cowlitz County, railroad officials said.

The dump truck driver failed to stop and struck a BNSF service vehicle that picks up track and other material, said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas.

The incident occurred on the Dwight Road cross, which is off Barnes Drive just north of the Toutle River’s junction with the Cowlitz River.

The dump truck driver was taken to a hospital but the train service vehicle operator was not injured, Melonas said. The service vehicle was damaged and dislodged from the tracks, and will need to be repaired, Melonas said.

Six trains were delayed for about an hour, but the tracks and traffic resumed at about 10:30 a.m., Melonas said.

It was the second incident on the BNSF main line in Cowlitz County in less than 18 hours.

In the earlier accident, a Union Pacific freight train smashed into a minivan at a crossing north of Kelso at about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday, but no one was injured, according to authorities.

According to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office, William Barnell, 82, tried to cross the tracks near Horseshoe Bend Estates off Pleasant Hill Road at around 6:20 p.m. He did not stop at the stop sign before crossing the tracks, and his minivan was struck by a northbound Union Pacific freight train.

The train’s engineer sounded the horn and activated emergency brakes but the train could not stop in time. The train was not disabled and there was no obvious damage to the tracks, according to the sheriff’s office.

The van was totaled, but Barnell escaped injury and and refused medical aid at the scene. He was cited for failing to stop at a stop sign. Two train crew members were also were uninjured.



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