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