MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 31-year-old man from Silver Lake was killed Saturday night when the snowmobile he was driving hit a train west of the Twin Cities.

The Meeker County Sheriff’s Office responded to the accident at about 6:54 p.m. Saturday near the 600 block of Parker Avenue East in Dassel. When authorities arrived, an investigation showed two snowmobiles had been traveling eastbound along a set of railroad tracks at the same time as a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train was headed eastbound.

Authorities say the lead snowmobile lost control and slid into the side of the train, becoming caught and getting dragged down the tracks. The driver of the snowmobile was pulled underneath the train and was killed. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash happened several rail cars back from the locomotives on the train, so the crew operating the train was unaware of what had happened and continued traveling. The second snowmobiler witnessed the accident but was not hurt.

Authorities identified the victim as Paul Fenske, 31 of Silver Lake. The accident is still under investigation by the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office and officials with the BNSF Railroad.


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