Four dead after car, train collide in Anoka

Associated Press

ANOKA, Minn. -- Four young people were killed when the car they were riding in apparently raced around crossing arms at a railroad intersection and collided with a freight train.

The crash happened around 10 p.m. Friday where Highway 47, also known as Ferry Street, crosses Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks north of Highway 10 in this Minneapolis suburb.

The Anoka County coroner identified the four as Brian L. Frazier, 20, of Newport; Harry J. Rhodes, Jr., 19, of Newport; Bridgette M. Shannon, 17, of Ramsey; and Corey E. Chase, 20, of Coon Rapids.

It wasn't clear who was driving the car. Railroad officials said the driver ignored warning lights and drove around the crossing arms.


Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Steve Forsberg said the train, on its way from St. Paul to Portland, Ore., was traveling 59 mph. He said the crew applied emergency brakes when they saw the car, but couldn't stop the train.

The arms are activated to block the driving lane when the train is 20 seconds from the crossing, regardless of speed.

"All they can do when they see a car failing to yield is blow the whistle," Forsberg said.

Forsberg said the crossing arms and warning lights were working properly.

The engineer on the train called the Anoka County sheriff's department and said he had just struck a vehicle, dispatchers said.

The four people were pronounced dead at the scene.

Pat Spieker, who lives about a block away from the crash site, said he did not hear the collision but went to the scene after hearing the sirens of emergency vehicles.

"There were bits and pieces of the car all over the place," Spieker said.


The crossing has lights and crossarms, and Spieker said the trains always sound horns as they approach.

"Every time the train comes through the intersection, it sounds its horn," Spieker said. "All night long, they sound the horn."

Spieker said he believed the train was westbound.

The crash was under investigation.

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