Train hits empty SUV near inline raceThe NorthShore Inline Marathon started out with a bang Saturday morning as a northbound Canadian National Railway train crashed into an empty 1993 Ford Explorer near the starting line of the race on Scenic Highway 61.
By: News-Chronicle, Lake County News Chronicle
The NorthShore Inline Marathon started out with a bang Saturday morning as a northbound Canadian National Railway train crashed into an empty 1993 Ford Explorer near the starting line of the race on Scenic Highway 61. It pushed the vehicle up the tracks and across the expressway overpass after impact. The train continued to the Iron Range later in the morning.
Lake County Sheriff Carey Johnson said the crash happened at about 5:30 a.m. Johnson and the sheriff’s office have received conflicting reports about why the SUV was on the tracks. It is owned by Nicole Crandall of Cloquet, who apparently was in Two Harbors visiting friends. Another SUV was also found near the tracks, a Jeep Cherokee owned by Brandyn Nelson.
It isn’t clear who was operating the Explorer when it became stuck. Nelson said he owns the Jeep but had “nothing to do with” the incident. He said he needed to talk with police to “get it straightened out.”
Police say they were told a group was four-wheeling in the area and had driven the vehicles down the tracks from the intersection with Scenic 61. One got stuck on the tracks and they couldn’t get help to get it off before the train came.
Johnson said the drivers could face any number of charges, including trespassing on the railroad property. He said there could have been more trouble had the train pushed the SUV off the overpass and on to an expressway filled with cars carrying inline racers.
There were no reported injuries from the incident.
The CN train was heading out of Two Harbors. There were no visual signs of the accident at 9 a.m. Saturday morning.
The inline race started on time, 7:30 a.m., despite the train blocking part of Scenic 61. Ore cars were separated so racers could make it to the starting line just west of the crossing. Approximately 3,000 entrants were there for Saturday’s marathon (2,600) and accompanying half-marathon (400).
In June, a CN train left the tracks near Brimson in rural St. Louis County, tipping 14 of its 120 cars full of taconite.