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Area man injured in accident

January 29, 2012
by Sam Jefson, Register Staff Writer
A Wells man is listed in critical condition after the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) snowplow he was driving collided with a Union Pacific train.

Snowplow operator Bradley Bruegger, 55, was traveling southbound on Highway 22 in Kiester at 2:14 p.m., Jan. 20 when he was struck by the eastbound train. The closest intersection to the accident is West Front Street.

The MnDOT snow plow was broadsided by the train on the passenger side. The train’s locomotive was centered on the passenger side compartment of the plow and continued to push it approximately three quarters of a mile down the track after initial contact. The train was not derailed as a result of the impact.

Road conditions at the time of the crash were listed as icy according to a report by the Minnesota State Patrol. When the collision took place Bruegger was plowing. Other factors as to the cause of the crash are still under investigation.

Bruegger is a 21-year MnDOT employee. Immediately following the crash he was knocked unconscious, but regained consciousness before being airlifted by Mayo to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. Bruegger was admitted to the intensive care unit and is conscious and talking.

At the time of the crash, the driver was wearing a lap and shoulder seat belt.

The train crossing is marked by lights and an audible signal. It does not have arms. As a result of the crash, lights at the train tracks were knocked out and MnDOT has put up temporary stop signs for replacement.

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