Neighbors react to railroad crossing accident - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Neighbors react to railroad crossing accident


A person or vehicle is hit by a train about every two hours. Trespassing along the tracks is the leading cause of rail-related fatalities in America with about 500 deaths each year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

On Monday, a Waterloo women fell from a moving training. She is currently in critical condition. Waterloo police say 46-year-old Shvette Grubbs started to climb aboard the train when it was stopped, and fell when it started to move again. That's when Grubbs fell underneath the train.

The train severed one of her legs, but she talking when rescuers arrived. Grubbs was initially taken to Allen Memorial Hospital, but then transferred to Saint Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.

"They were in the process of changing cars and that's why it was stable for a while or stationary for a while but it started to move and in this case when the victim was on it," said Captain Tim Pillack of the Waterloo Police Department.

Frances Melsh lives less than a block form the tracks and is the president of the Common Ground Neighborhood Association.

"I have seen people take their bikes over the railroad tracks and train and them over. I'm not surprised what happened yesterday ," said Melsh.

Melsh also says the railroad is not to blame for the accident, she says people need to be more careful around the railroad.

"It ain't because the train is holding up traffic. They got to do their job and I know certain time they got to check their brakes and everything else. You just got to be patient with the railroad tracks," said Melsh.

While neighbors along the tracks say the trains can sometimes be a nuisance they do believe there are better ways to help keep people and traffic moving safely.

Maybe the city can get some funding and make a walkway over the railroad tracks. I've seen that. My home towns got one like that. Mason city has one like that," said Melsh.

The Iowa Department of Transportation reports, on average, five to six Iowans are struck and killed by trains annually at a location other than at a highway/rail crossing. Between 1995 and 2004, 65 people lost their lives in Iowa by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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