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Forum News Service, Published February 12 2014

Train stops moments before it would have hit truck stuck on tracks

BRAINERD, Minn. - It was a close call Wednesday morning when a tractor-trailer got stuck on BNSF railroad tracks in Brainerd with a train approaching.

The train, loaded with coal, stopped about 100 feet before it would have reached the truck. No injuries were reported.

Brainerd police were dispatched to the railroad crossing just before 10 a.m. Police Chief Corky McQuiston said officers immediately noticed an eastbound train entering Brainerd and approaching the location where the truck was stuck. Officers requested that dispatchers make emergency contact with BNSF to notify the train engineer that the tracks were blocked.

The truck driver, Monte Johnson, 51, of Davenport, Iowa, apparently was unfamiliar with the terrain around the railroad tracks and, with accumulated snow also a factor, drove the truck across an area of the tracks unsuitable for vehicles to cross.

Johnson apparently was able to leave the truck and wave to the train operator, signaling the train to stop, McQuiston said. The operator brought the train to a complete stop.

The semi truck was towed from the tracks, and the train proceeded after about a 30-minute delay.