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Ryan Johnson, Published September 01 2013

UPDATED: Train-vehicle crash kills female driver

PAGE, N.D. – A North Dakota woman died Sunday evening from injuries she suffered when her vehicle was struck by a train near here shortly after 6:30 p.m.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol said the 67-year-old female driver was eastbound on a gravel township road about 1 mile southeast of Page when she attempted to cross the tracks at 15 mph.

Her 1999 Chrysler Concorde was struck on the left side by a southeast-bound BNSF Railway train pulling 73 cars at 52 mph, and both the train and the car slid about one-third of a mile down the tracks before coming to a stop.

Sgt. Tom Herzig told The Forum that the train operator activated the emergency brakes after seeing the car on the tracks, but the train didn’t stop in time.

“The train did everything it could to avoid the collision within its means,” he said. “Nonetheless, the collision occurred.”

Herzig said there are no crossing arms or warning lights at the railroad crossing, but the crossing is marked and there’s nothing to block the view at the intersection.

The female driver was airlifted to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, where she died of her injuries.

Herzig said authorities cleared the scene shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday and the crash remains under investigation.

He said the Highway Patrol has contacted the driver’s family but likely won’t release her name or residence until today to give the family time to contact other relatives.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587