Taxi passengers escape serious injury
West Hennepin Public Safety (WHPS) responded to a report of a personal injury crash of a train versus a car in the area of Valley Road in Independence at 12:12 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30.
Upon arrival, police officers found that a westbound Burlington Northern Santé Fe (BNSF) train had struck a Blue and White taxi cab. All occupants had exited the car before it was struck. The passenger, Max Downs III, 48, of Independence, had minor injuries.
During further investigation, police learned that the cab driver, Abdulkadir Kulmiye, 32, of Minneapolis had turned off of Highway 12 onto a private railroad grade crossing driveway instead of Valley Road. The road was plowed partially to the railroad tracks. The cab crossed over the railroad tracks and became stuck.
Downs asked his neighbor, Allen Cole, 29, of Independence, who had a truck and tow strap, to assist in pulling the cab out. While Cole attempted to pull the cab out, it became hung up on the railroad tracks.
Police said that neither WHPS nor BNSF were notified of the stuck cab on the tracks. The BNSF train struck the cab and spun it around. The door of the cab struck Downs’ leg, and the cab ended up in the ditch. North Memorial Medical Paramedics checked Downs at the scene.
The BNSF investigative team responded to the scene, and trains were delayed for approximately two and a half hours.
WHPS Director Ray McCoy said, “It is important to call 9-1-1 when you get stuck on the railroad tracks, so police can get the trains stopped. We were very fortunate that this was not a serious injury or fatality and that everyone was able to get out of the cab before it was struck by the train.”
WHPS was assisted by the Maple Plain Fire Department and North Memorial Ambulance.