18-Year-Old Dies In Truck-Train Crash Near Austin

AUSTIN, Minn. (AP) — A high school senior who was off from school on a snow day has died in a truck-train crash near Austin in southern Minnesota.

He was identified Wednesday as 18-year-old Joe Lewison, of Rose Creek. He died when the pickup he was driving crashed into a train on Mower County Road 4 near U.S. Highway 218, four miles south of Austin, around 11:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Lewison was a senior at Pacelli High School in Austin, which was closed Tuesday due to the wintry weather across southern Minnesota. He was the only person in the truck.

Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi says icy road conditions played a role in the collision.

Although the railroad crossing has stop signs and railroad crossing signs, it does not have gates or lights.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Shelly

    How sad for this family…. What a horrible day I can’t image …..

  • Dave Campbell

    I do feel bad for this family. I do however assume that this crossing did not just pop up over night. A stop sign is a stop sign no matter where it is. People just do not respect them when they are placed by railroad tracks. Going by a stop sign or any other crossing warning devise is against the law. Not paying attention or just plain trying to beat a train is never a good idea. Please respect the crossing devises no matter what form they are in! The people operating the trains have to live with this tragedy also.

    • Jamie

      Renee – Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am a relatives of Joe’s and I just wanted to say that Joe was not able to stop in time do to the icy roads not because he wanted to beat the train!!!!!!!! Joe was a remarkable young man that has touched so many lives. Joe – you will be greatly missed!

  • Renee J.

    Mr. Campbell, shame on you for assuming this young man simply didn’t stop. No where in the article above did it claim that, actually it says that road conditions and ice may have played a part. Do not make assumptions without facts.
    A young life was lost today, please have some respect for this young man and his family.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this family during this very difficult time as well as the individuals operating the train.

    • Melissa C

      As the wife of the engineer who was operating the train on that tragic day, I want to say thank you for the thoughts and prayers. It was a horrible tragic accident that no one should have to go through. This has weighed on my husband every single day since the accident.
      You are the first that i’ve seen to extend prayers to the train crew. Thank you again!!

      Melissa C.

  • Bob

    He was probably close to starting a new journey; college or a career. That is sad….

  • Dan R

    I feel deeply sad for joe’s family and freinds. Joe’s mother ahhh it just eats me up inside seeing her on tv saying she did not understand gods plan but it was his will. I also feel a connection to the family because on that very same day my soon to be wife and son were also in a car/train accsident.

  • Bob

    TO: DAN R — just wondering where that crash occurred that involved people who were close to you. I’m so sorry to hear that. The C.R. 4 crossing has no lights or gates. What were the circumstances at the crossing where your loved-ones were involved. I hope they are OK. The bottom line is this. The railroad industry HATES lights and gates because they have to maintain the equipment. There is nothing as cheap to maintain as a simple crossbuck RR sign. But there is nothing as dangerous as a crossbuck-only crossing—-the driver gets no active warning that a train is coming. You’ll find it interesting that a VP for the largest RR in the U.S. admitted to a jury that “lights and gates can reduce the chance of a collision by 90 percent.” 90 PERCENT!!!

    • Melissa C

      I’m not sure where you get your information, but you should really do some more research of the information you post. It is actuallly not up to the RR to install lights and gates, it is up to the State, County, town whose roads are being crossed by the RR. Yes the railroad can maintain them, but they are not responsible for installing them. My husband, who was the engineer on this train, has told the family of Joe Lewison to push to have these lights and gates installed on this crossing.
      Please do a little more research on your subject before posting.

      Melissa C.

  • Molly Kirtz

    We Love You Joe R.I.P. All these thing are for all the good memories of him!!

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