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No injuries in truck versus train

A train and truck collision Wednesday night left traffic on State Avenue at a standstill for more than an hour, officials said.

On Wednesday, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train had entered the crossing on State Avenue when Dickinson resident Michael Bertelsen, 63, who was driving a pickup, approached the train. Bertelsen said in a police report that he never saw the train while traveling north due to its dark color, not realizing it was at the crossing until it was too late. He struck the train at 7:50 p.m.

BNSF employee Richard Lopez, of Bismarck, who was on the roadway south of the tracks, stated that he made several gestures towards the approaching vehicle with his hands and lantern. Lopez, 24, said Bertelsen nearly hit him with the pickup but the driver swerved at the last minute.

Bertelsen appeared to have hit one rail car, causing minor damage before the train came to a halt. It also appeared that two rail cars made contact with the truck. The accident left $5,000 damage to the pickup.

Dickinson Police Department Officer Corey Lee stated in the report that Lopez was wearing a bright orange and reflective vest, adding that Bertelsen should have been able to see both the train and Lopez. Alcohol and drugs were not involved in the accident, and Bertelsen was wearing a seatbelt.

Possible enforcement action is pending.