WHAT LED TO FOUR DEAD IN ANOKA?

A car carrying four young people was struck by a BNSF train traveling about 60 miles per hour on Sept. 26, 2003. The train sheared the car in half, killing all four occupants instantly. A jury put 90 percent of the blame on BNSF and awarded the families $21.6 million, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals ordered a new trial in September . The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to review the case.

WHAT BNSF SAYS:

  • The Ferry Street crossing generated some trouble tickets, but BNSF made all the proper repairs.
  • The crossing arms lowered to block traffic and the warning lights flashed as Brian Frazier's car approached the crossing.
  • The vehicle's driver tried to beat the train by sneaking around the crossing arms at 5 to 10 mph and was struck by the locomotive.

WHAT THE FAMILIES SAY:

  • The Ferry Street crossing had been malfunctioning for years, but BNSF failed to adequately fix the problems.
  • The crossing arms remained up and the lights failed to flash, making it appear no train was coming as the vehicle moved into the intersection at about 30 mph.
  • The car was torn in half by the train. It was moving too fast to sneak around the crossing arms.

Source: Court filings, Star Tribune reporting, Federal Railroad Administration

MIKE ZERBY Star Tribune file photo

Emily Anderson, 16, and Jessica Dougherty, 16, both from Blaine and friends of Corey Chase, were among the many visitors to the Ferry Street crossing after the 2003 crash. Flowers, cards and writings were left to honor the four who died.