Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, July 20, 1998

Lester Prairie woman hurt in truck-train crash

Charlotte Bruns of Lester Prairie is lucky to be alive after she and her 1989 Chevrolet Blazer tangled with a Dakota Rail train Monday afternoon on County Road 15 (Falcon Avenue) east of Silver Lake.

While Bruns suffered no broken bones, she did sprain her ankle and elbow and suffered head cuts that required 15 stitches to close after she was tossed into the windshield by the impact, she said.

Bruns said she was heading south on County Road 15 about 11 a.m. when the accident occurred. She said she was going to Glencoe to pick up her son, Nicholas.

She reached a "blind intersection" where the train crosses the road.

"I've been here three years, and I've never seen a train," Bruns said.

By the time she saw this train, it was too late, she said. "It came from behind the trees."

She said she did not have time to react other than turn to the left. The Blazer hit the train, but not head-on she said. "The train dragged me a little."

Bruns said she was thankful the train was going pretty slow, perhaps 10 to 15 miles per hour.

"All I remember saying is "This is it.'"

Even with her seatbelt on, Bruns said she was thrown into the passenger side seat by the impact after her head hit the windshield.

"I just jumped out. I was in shock," she said.

The train engineer came to her aid, using his shirt to try to stop of the bleeding on her head, Bruns said.

Her husband, Randy Bruns, later pulled up, and Bruns said he was in shock from the sight as well.

The Silver Lake Ambulance transported Bruns to the Hutchinson Community Hospital for treatment. Besides the McLeod County Sheriff's Department, the Minnesota State Patrol also assisted at the scene.

"I got so lucky," Bruns said. "I thank the Lord. The Lord was with me."

Besides swollen knees and bruises, Bruns said she is still picking slivers of glass from her head.

She also said the trees that block the view of that train crossing should be removed or a stop sign placed at the crossing to warn motorists.

See follow-up story

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