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Hung-up motorist at track repair site halts rail traffic

Hung-up motorist at track repair site halts rail traffic

MOORHEAD, Minn. — Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail traffic was stopped briefly late Friday after a motorist drove around barricades and got his car hung up on the tracks at a BNSF worksite.

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A second driver did the same thing early Saturday at the site in Moorhead, and police arrested both on charges of driving while intoxicated.

Both cars had badly damaged wheels and suspensions after driving around barricades on a closed stretch of road and through a roughly foot-deep hole created when BNSF crews ripped up part of the road to replace rails, police Sgt. Steve Larsen said Saturday.

“There’s just a gaping hole right now where the tracks used to be,” Larsen said.

The first driver, Timothy Benson, 24, of Dilworth, got hung up on the tracks about 11:15 p.m. Friday, Larsen said.

“The first vehicle made it through the hole and one wheel had been twisted and it was stuck on the tracks,” Larsen said.

BNSF was notified so rail traffic could be stopped while the vehicle was removed, Larsen said.

The second driver, a 17-year-old Clay County girl, also damaged her car badly enough to disable it at the same site early Saturday, Larsen said. BNSF was also notified of that accident, he said.

Larsen said drivers have to drive into the opposite lane to bypass the barricades and ignore large “road closed” signs.

“If they don’t get the hint by what they’re already seeing, they probably won’t no matter what we do,” Larsen said.

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