Williston man dies in train-bulldozer crash

TRENTON A 45-year-old Williston man was killed Monday night west of Trenton when the Amtrak passenger train crashed into the bulldozer he was driving.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol has not yet released the name of the victim.

The accident happened about 7:30 p.m. when the man was driving a Caterpillar D6 bulldozer, crossing south on a private construction railroad crossing, and struck by the eastbound Amtrak passenger train, the patrol said.

Marc Magliari, Amtrak media relations manager in Chicago, said a private construction railroad crossing is not a crossing for public use.

He said the train had 13 cars containing 326 passengers and crew.

The patrol said the bulldozer driver was not restrained and was ejected from the bulldozer. The train continued on for about 615 feet after hitting the bulldozer.

When the train stopped, the conductors attempted first aid to the bulldozer operator. He was taken by air ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Williston where he died, the patrol said.

Magliari said two Amtrak engineers were treated at the hospital and then released. He said there were no other injuries onboard.

The bulldozer was totaled and there was significant damage to the lead train, the patrol said.

“Only the first set of wheels on the lead locomotive lost contact with the track,” Magliari said. He said the lead locomotive was damaged and will be repaired before being returned to Chicago.

“The train continued on after a lengthy delay, with two locomotives obtained by BNSF and the remaining Amtrak unit,” Magliari said.

The accident happened at N.D. Highway 1804, nine miles west of Trenton. Trenton is about 14 miles southwest of Williston.

Magliari said the Amtrak train was going east when the accident happened. “The Portland and Seattle sections of the train are combined in Spokane and comes through Minot to Chicago,” he said.

He said on Tuesday that the tracks are open and the fuel spill has been cleaned up.