Railroad employee and driver injured when SUV hits train

It was the second train-vehicle crash in as many days.
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A railroad employee and the driver of an SUV were taken to the hospital after the train and vehicle collided in Faribault Friday morning.

The collision happened on the 1400 block of 2nd Ave. NW near Faribault Woolen Mills at 9:19 a.m., a news release says. The initial investigation shows a 49-year-old woman was driving her SUV southbound when it hit the train, as the train was backing up across the road.

The driver of the SUV had to be extricated from the vehicle and was then airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

A 26-year-old railroad employee who was on board the train was also injured in the collision. He was flown to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, the release says. Witnesses told FOX 9's Paul Blume the employee was on a train ladder when the crash happened, but police haven't confirmed that.

Neither the driver nor the railroad employee's conditions have been released.

At the intersection where the crash happened, there are only warning signs – no crossing arms or lights, the Faribault Police Department told GoMN.

The incident is under investigation by the Minnesota State Patrol and Faribault police.

Man killed by train in northern MN

This was the second train-vehicle collision in Minnesota in as many days.

On Thursday around 2:45 p.m., a train collided with a road grader at the intersection of Zim and Maki roads in Toivola Township, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office says. The driver of the grader – Walter William Maki Jr., a 67-year-old from Hibbing – was killed in the crash.

The incident is under investigation by the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

Train-vehicle crashes in Minnesota

Last year, there were 23 highway-rail crossing collisions in Minnesota, resulting in two deaths and 10 injuries, the Minnesota Department of Transportation's website says, noting the statistic doesn't include crashes involving public transit.

Nationally in 2016, there were 2,025 train-vehicle collisions at highway-rail grade crossings. Those collisions led to 265 fatalities and 798 injuries, Operation Lifesaver's website shows.

The number of train-vehicle crashes in Minnesota was down last year, marking the second-lowest number of crashes at public crossings since 1970, MnDOT says. In 2015, there were 48 train-vehicle crashes in Minnesota, killing three people and injuring 19, according to Department of Public Safety statistics.

About 30 percent of highway-rail crossings in Minnesota have active warning devices, according to Operation Lifesaver Minnesota.

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