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Semi struck by train in Perham; three escape just before impact

A semi-truck was hit by a train at the Sixth Avenue NW railroad crossing in Perham on Saturday night. The semi's three occupants managed to escape just before impact. Submitted photo

By Elizabeth Huwe / Perham Focus

A train hit a semi-truck and trailer at the Sixth Avenue NW railroad crossing in Perham at about 10 p.m. on Saturday.

According to the Perham police report, the semi driver was attempting to cross the tracks, heading north, when the truck got stuck in the snow. The driver backed up and tried to cross again, but with no luck.

While the truck was stuck on the tracks, a train came through and struck it.

Three occupants who were inside the semi were able to escape just seconds before impact, according to Perham Fire Chief Mark Schmidt. They were found by firefighters on the north side of the tracks, at the Barrel O’ Fun facility, about 10 minutes after the crash.

Police said there were no injuries.

Fire department members assisted at the scene by ensuring the train engine and semi did not catch fire. They also walked the tracks to report any “damage and debris that was scattered through town” back to Burlington Northern-Santa Fe, Schmidt wrote in an email to the Focus.

The semi-truck is owned by Werner Enterprises, a transportation and logistics company headquartered in Nebraska.

The incident is still under investigation.

The crash had necessitated the closure of most crossings through Perham for Saturday night and well into Sunday. As of Monday afternoon, the Sixth Avenue NW crossing remained closed due to damage, but all other crossings in town had reopened.

Other responders to the accident were the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office, New York Mills Police Department and Perham EMS.

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