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Helmut Schmidt, Published February 08 2014

2 arrested for driving around barricades while intoxicated

MOORHEAD, Minn. – Police arrested two drivers late Friday night and early Saturday morning for driving while intoxicated and driving around barricades on First Ave. S. at a Burlington Northern Santa Fe track repair worksite.

Both cars had badly damaged wheels and suspensions after driving around barricades on the closed stretch of road and through a roughly foot deep hole created when BNSF crews ripped up part of the road to replace rails, police Sgt. Steve Larsen said Saturday.

“There’s just a gaping hole right now where the tracks used to be,” Larsen said.

The first driver, Timothy Benson, 24, of Dilworth, got his car hung up on the tracks about 11:15 p.m. Friday, Larsen said.

“The first vehicle made it through the hole and one wheel had been twisted and it was stuck on the tracks,” Larsen said.

BNSF was notified so rail traffic could be stopped while the vehicle was removed, Larsen said.

The second driver, a 17-year-old Clay County girl, also damaged her car badly enough to disable it at the same site early Saturday, Larsen said. BNSF was also notified of that accident, he said.

Larsen said drivers have to drive into the opposite lane to bypass the barricades and ignore large “road closed” signs. He said he hopes accidents at the spot don’t continue through the weekend.

“If they don’t get the hint by what they’re already seeing, they probably won’t no matter what we do,” Larsen said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583