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Police ID Pedestrian Killed by Train in Fridley

John Robert Iverson, 29, of Blaine died on BNSF tracks north of 77th Way NE at 8 p.m. Monday.

Update (12:15 p.m. Tuesday): The St. Paul Pioneer Press contacted the father of John Robert Iverson, the 29-year-old Blaine man who was hit by a freight train and killed in Fridley Monday night: 

The incident was the result of a horrible accident, Robert Iverson, John Iverson's father, said when reached at his Blaine home Tuesday. He said that his son had no children and was not married.

"He was just a sweet, loving person," Robert Iverson said.

Update (11:30 a.m. Tuesday): The Fridley Police Department has identified the man who died when a train struck him about 8 p.m. Monday just north of 77th Way NE in Fridley.

He was Blaine resident John Robert Iverson, 29.

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Update (9:45 a.m. Tuesday): Authorities are still not releasing the identity of the male pedestrian killed when a train struck him in Fridley Monday night.

Fridley Police Lt. Mike Monsrud, by email Tuesday, answered the question raised in the 7:45 a.m. update below:

He was struck approximately 100 feet north of 77th Way. He was not struck at the crossing.

That means police and the railroad are in agreement that the victim was not at the 77th Way NE crossing when the train hit him.

Update (7:45 a.m. Tuesday): One point that's not yet clear about the incident on the BNSF Railway tracks in Fridley Monday night is exactly where the male pedestrian was when the northbound train struck him. (He died at the scene about 100 yards north of 77th Way NE.)

A statement from Anoka County emergency dispatch said Fridley police responded to 77th Way NE and the BNSF tracks on a report of a person having been struck. A BNSF spokesperson said the incident did not occur at a crossing. A Fridley police officer at the scene the incident began at the crossing and ended where investigators were gathered near the victim's body, about 100 north of the crossing just to the west of the tracks.

According to Jennifer of 4 Flash Productions Media, who said she arrived at the scene about one minute after police did, the train's engines came to a stop about four blocks north, approximately in the 8100 block. She said by email Tuesday morning she saw a fire rescue truck and ambulance drive along the west side of the tracks: "The only thing I could see is up the tracks they had police tape from a tree to the train cars and up by the engines they were photographing the front of the train." You can see three of her photos (shot with her phone, in better light than the others) in the slideshow that accompanies this post.

Update (12:15 a.m. Tuesday): Authorities have described the person killed after being struck by a train in Fridley Monday evening as a male pedestrian.

Fridley police, the Anoka County Sheriff's Office and BNSF Railway police are withholding the man's identity while they investigate, according to a statement  from Anoka County emergency dispatch.

The statement described the incident this way: At approximately 8:06 p.m. Monday, Fridley police received a report that a pedestrian had been struck by a train at 77th Way NE. When police arrived, the found a male north of 77th and west of the tracks along which a northbound train had come to stop. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. Authorities do not suspect foul play. BNSF is cooperating with the investigation.

Fridley police left the scene at the 77th Way crossing at about 10 p.m. BNSF Railway police remained. One of the orange-vested investigators walked back from the place where the pedestrian's body lay, carrying a surveyor's measuring wheel.

The incident brought out a few onlookers on a warm, drizzly night. Brett McDonald said he lived a block or so west of the crossing and works a block or so east ("No commute," he said).

"It hasn't been a good year," McDonald said, referring to train derailment that happened nearby along the same set of tracks almost exactly a year ago, on July 16, 2011.

The stopped train blocked traffic at the Osborne Road and 77th Way crossings. At 10:15 p.m. four vehicles were waiting on the west side of the Osborne Road crossing until a passerby told them the train had been there for nearly two hours.

Southbound trains continued to travel past the scene throughout the evening. At 10:30 p.m., a northbound train—possibly the one that hit the pedestrian—crossed 85th Street NE.

Update (9:48 p.m): Fridley police say a BNSF train struck a pedestrian at the 77th Way NE crossing at 8 p.m. Monday. The body remains where the incident ended, 100 yards north in the west side of the tracks. Osborne Road and 77th are blocked by the train which is stopped. Southbound trains continue to travel past. Police just now left the crossing.

Original post (8:55 p.m.): Anoka County emergency dispatch confirmed a fatality along the BNSF Railway tracks about 100 yards north of 77th Way NE in Fridley at about 8 p.m. Monday.

BNSF spokesman Steve Forsberg said an intermodal freight train from St. Paul bound for Tacoma, WA, made the first report to the railway's service interruption desk at 8 p.m.

The incident did not occur at a crossing, Forsberg said.

Both the railway and the dispatch desk said they were waiting for more information.

Look for updates here.

BP July 24, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Things a REAL railroad Operation Lifesaver (OL) group would ask!!! 1. Why are all OL directors handpuppets of the railroad or government only giving lip service safety messages? 2. Why nothing is ever mentioned by OL that would cost the railroads a penny on the obviously missing safety equipment and track maintenance work? 3. Where are the crossing safety signals for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering at 1,000s of crossings? 4. Where are the track video monitors for the trains going too fast with no brakes or steering to get the train stopped IN TIME? 5. Why aren't railroads paying at least half for crossing signals because it's their trains going too fast with no brakes or steering while paying the so-called RR directors millions a year. 6. Why the crossing humps trapping big trucks aren't required to be removed? 7. Why the crossing surfaces aren't wider where if a vehicle fish tails on slick road and is trapped at the edge of the crossing surface trap? 8. Why the train cabs aren't required to be lit up like a Christmas tree with emergency vehicle light bars? LOOK AND SEE!! 9. Why the front of trains aren't required to have air bags or something to soften impacts? 10. Why trains don't have better braking systems? OLIs message now shows train brakes obviously suck.
BP July 24, 2012 at 05:07 AM
11. Why there are no bidding invitations on the obviously overcharged crossing projects the tax-payers pay the railroads for. $10,000 just to get the equipment to the sight. TRUCKED IN. 12. Why trains are allowed to run in the fog? 13. Why the crossings aren't lit up so drivers can see the black rail cars across the tracks at night? 14. Why railroads remove and steal signals we paid for on closed re-worked crossings? 15. Why $$$millions$$$ of the rail safety budget we pay in is wasted on needless reworks at crossings preventing signals where needed? 16. Why the railroad isn't required to de-ice crossings before they roll the trains? 17. Why the railroad isn't required to raise their overpasses so big trucks can get under them? The railroad wants to double stack and our road overpasses are too low---no problem WE PAY MILLIONS. 18. Why drug/alcohol tests aren't done on rail crews at crossing/pedestrian collisions? 19. Why railroads are allowed to get off with the train black box , signal black box (if crossing signals are present), and cab video at crossing/pedestrian collisions? 20. Why the fact is hidden that trains kill a few thousand people in 100 million train miles when regular drivers have like ONE death? WAITING FOR OLI/OLI.CA response.
john malkovich July 24, 2012 at 05:09 PM
BP, get a life!
Josh Davies July 26, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I bet you're sitting at your compter right now waiting for this "OL" to reply to your 20 questions. All I can say is...keep waiting.. I'm sure it's taking them awhile to word their response correctly.
Chris Steller (Editor) July 26, 2012 at 03:56 PM
"john malkovich," get a real user name! (Unless that is your real name)
Steven Nelson June 08, 2013 at 12:20 PM
BP and "John Malkovich" aside, isn't that the 2nd fatality at that same location in a year or two?

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