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Two injured after light-rail train hits SUV

Author / Coordinator:  
March 2007

Two people were injured and taken to the hospital Sunday after a light-rail train hit an SUV.

The accident happened at about 4:30 p.m. at East 42nd Street and Hiawatha Avenue. The two-car train traveling at around 45 mph struck the SUV on the driver’s side, said Metro Transit spokesman Bob Gibbons. The train pushed the car into a traffic gate and pole, which smashed the front of the car.

The car’s driver, an adult man, and his passenger, a younger female, were taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, Gibbons said. Their conditions were not available Sunday evening.

About 100 passengers were aboard the train. None of them was injured, Gibbons said

The train had minor damage — a crack in the fiberglass, Gibbons said.

It was unclear what the car was doing during the accident, Gibbons said. But transit officials believe it was on the wrong side of the median and therefore did not encounter a gate arm that would have alerted the driver to the train’s arrival. Lights were flashing and bells ringing at the intersection as well, Gibbons said.

The train driver will be put on paid dministrative leave and undergo drug alcohol testing — all standard procedures.

The accident was the third major one since the light-rail system began operating in June 2004 — excluding lesser accidents in downtown Minneapolis that incapacitated neither trains nor cars, Gibbons said.

In April 2005, a train struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the tracks in Minneapolis. In September 2004, a train slammed into a car in Minneapolis, killing the 87-year-old man who had driven under a safety arm and onto the tracks.

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