Officials: Woman killed by train ignored crossing arms


A woman, who police say ignored flashing lights and drove around railroad crossing arms, was killed in a collision with a train in Independence early Saturday morning.

Pauline Lang, 25, of Buffalo was driving west on U.S. 12 and made a right turn onto County Road 92, where she came upon the railroad tracks, the Pioneer Press reports. A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train was traveling west toward Lang, when they collided at the crossing around 1:15 a.m.

Lang was pronounced dead at the scene, KSTP reports. She was the only occupant of the vehicle. No other injuries were reported.

The railroad crossing arms were down at the time and all equipment was working properly, according to a post from the West Hennepin Public Safety Department on its Facebook page.

This is the second time in a month the West Hennepin Public Safety Department has responded to a crash on railroad tracks in the city of Independence.

According to Federal Railroad Administration statistics, 2,087 highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurred in 2013. There were 251 fatalities. Of those, there were 53 collisions in Minnesota and six deaths, according to Operation Lifesaver, an organization that focuses on rail safety education.

Officials said never try and beat a train at a railroad crossing – it's hard to judge their speed and they appear to be moving slower than they actually are. Operation Lifesaver has published various safety tips regarding this issue.

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