Pickup struck by train

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— A 66-year-old Steamboat Springs man was in serious but stable condition Saturday after the pickup he was driving was struck by a train at a railroad crossing Friday morning.

Glenn Barber was driving a 1996 Chevrolet pickup at about 7 a.m. Friday when it was struck by a Union Pacific coal train near the U.S. Highway 40 and Saddle Mountain Ranch railroad crossing west of Steamboat Springs, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Tonya Cowan said.

Cowan said Barber was inching his pickup toward the tracks when the westbound train hit the vehicle's driver side. The crash pushed the truck down an embankment and into a sign, which caused the truck to roll, Cowan said.

Barber sustained serious injuries to his head, ribs and shoulders and was airlifted to a Fort Collins hospital to be treated for his injuries, Cowan said. He was wearing his seat belt when the accident happened.

No other vehicles or people were involved in the accident.

Cowan said glare from the morning sun and a nearby grove of trees may have obstructed Barber's view of the tracks and the oncoming train. She said it appeared that Barber slowed his pickup as he approached the tracks.

But there wasn't enough time for the operator to stop the train.

"That big of a train can't stop that fast. That train kept on going," Cowan said, adding that the train's coal cars were empty.

The accident remains under investigation, and Cowan said he did not know whether Bar--ber would be cited for his role in the accident.

Friday's train accident was at least the third such accident in Routt County since December. On Dec. 22, a Union Pacific train hit a truck driven by Steamboat resident Anna Handcock. Handcock told police she couldn't see the train from around a 3-foot snowbank. She was inching her vehicle forward when the train struck it. Handcock and her passenger sustained minor injuries

On Jan. 14, Steamboat resident Buck Chavarria's pickup was hit by a train when he slid on the icy road. Unable to stop his pickup before reaching the tracks, Chavarria opened the driver-side door and leaped out before the impact. His truck was totaled.

The Dec. 22 and Jan. 14 incidents occurred at the same railroad crossing in the Fish Creek mobile home park in Steamboat.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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