Miracle on the tracks: family escapes car moments before - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Miracle on the tracks: family escapes car moments before train hits


DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- You might call it miracle on the tracks and it's why a Dubuque family is thankful to be alive. That's after a father and his three sons ditched their car moments before a train came speeding at them.

Officials say the road they were driving was 100-percent covered with ice. It all happened Friday morning on Hickory Avenue, North of Froelich road in Clayton County. Kevin Kluesner was driving with his three boys, 17-year-old Jimmy, 13-year-old Yianni and 10-year-old Tommy, when their car lost control on ice, rolled over and landed onto train tracks. They could hear a train headed right for their car.

It truly can be called a miracle but it was all thanks to quick thinking, particularly from the Jimmy. And it was quick thinking that saved their lives.

It was an early morning trip to start off hunting season.

"We ended up starting to go down the hill backwards eventually," Kevin Kluesner said.

That's when Kluesner's car, pulling a trailer, hit a patch of ice.

"Once we were going sideways I knew we were going in the ditch. I didn't expect to roll," Jimmy said.

But their car did roll, and far. Off the road, down a hill and onto train tracks.

"I crawled out and when I came out I was on my hands and knees. And I realized I was on the railroad tracks and at that very moment I heard the train whistle," Kevin said.

That's when Kevin and his oldest son, Jimmy, had to act fast. Kevin opened the back hatch and started digging through their hunting gear.

"And my lantern fell out. So I turned that on and I looked in the back and I could see Yianni back there," Kevin said.

Meantime, Jimmy was up front, helping get his brothers out of the car.

"I knew I had to get out. I went back in, did everything I could," Jimmy said.

"I started kicking and screaming and Jimmy was yelling," Yianni said.

Once their dad knew they were out, he ran towards the train, with his lantern, trying to warn the driving.

"My dad was yelling train non stop," Tommy said.

The driver did not see Kevin.  The train hit the Kluesner's car, totaling it.

"I think Jimmy is a hero, for going in the vehicle and pulling Yianni out. He instinctively knew what he had to do to help out his family and that's what he did," Kevin said.

Two of the Kluesner boys were taken to the hospital after the accident, but released shortly after. No one was seriously injured.

The driver of the train called police immediately. But the first sheriff to arrive on the scene, hit that same patch of ice, flipped his car and rolled down the hill. Jimmy rushed over to help the officer, who was not injured.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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