A U-turn on light-rail tracks leads to collision

  • Updated: September 16, 2007 - 11:08 PM

A 77-year-old man driving a minivan tried to make a U-turn over the light-rail tracks in south Minneapolis Sunday and was hit by a train, a transit spokesman said.

A 77-year-old man driving a minivan tried to make a U-turn over the light-rail tracks in south Minneapolis Sunday and was hit by a train, a transit spokesman said.

The driver was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, but his injuries did not appear to be serious, said Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons.

Light-rail service between the Fort Snelling and 46th Street stations was stopped for about an hour after the collision, and buses were used to transport passengers. It appeared that the damage to the train cars was mostly cosmetic, Gibbons said.

The man, whose name was not released and who was alone in the minivan, was driving north, the same direction as the train, and just a little bit ahead of it when he tried the maneuver about 4 p.m. along 54th Street near Hiawatha Avenue, Gibbons said.

The operator of the two-car train spotted the minivan and hit the brakes but couldn't stop in time, Gibbons said.

He said that he doesn't think that stretch of the light-rail service is problematic, noting that it's a low-speed area where trains run at about 30 miles per hour before they start traveling along Hiawatha.

He added that the driver's attempt to turn on the train tracks "is not an advised maneuver."

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