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Motorist killed in Bonners Ferry train collision

Mon., May 16, 2011, 10:38 a.m.

A motorist died this morning near Bonners Ferry after being struck by a train on a private crossing near the city’s municipal golf course, the Idaho State Police reported.

Richard E. Kelson, 77, was leaving his tree farm nursery on a private crossing in his 2002 Volkswagen Jetta when he was struck by the BNSF Railway train.

The accident at 8:45 a.m. occurred near the Mirror Lake Golf Course southwest of Bonners Ferry.

Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF Railway, said an empty grain train going from Portland to eastern Montana. The train had three locomotives and the lead engine was damaged badly enough it may be taken out of service, he said.

The main line was shut down for several hours. That stretch of railroad has a single set of tracks with a 40 mph speed limit.

“It’s certainly a tragic situation,” Melonas said.

ISP and BNSF were investigating the accident.

Kelson was not wearing a seat belt, ISP said.

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