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Published July 12, 2011, 06:38 PM

Train collides with truck in rural Cass County

Cass County, ND (WDAY TV) - Authorities say a man is lucky to be alive tonight after a train - truck collision in rural Davenport, in open country.

Authorities say a man is lucky to be alive tonight after a train - truck collision in rural Davenport, in open country.

The Cass County Sheriff's Department tells us the truck driver, who they believe to be around 30 to 40 years old, was taken to Essentia with non-life threatening injuries. They say the driver told them he just didn't hear the train."

Deputy Matt Giddings – Cass Co. Sheriff’s Department: "The driver's very lucky to have made it out."

The Durbin-bound train was only traveling 25 miles per hour, but had enough power to push this truck more than one hundred yards before it came to a halt.

Deputy Giddings: "I can only imagine the amount of force coming. They have approximately 30 cars and each one of those takes a while to stop."

The truck driver was following a farmer on County Road 6 in Rural Davenport, hauling a hopper bin to the home of its new owner.

Dan Zink – Red River Valley Western: "The driver apparently didn't see the train coming and was struck in the center of the truck."

The collision sent fire sweeping through the truck's cabin.

Zink: "There is damage to the locomotive but the truck is completely destroyed and there is minimal damage to the track..."

With more than 30 years combined as trained engineers, authorities say they are shaken up, but still doing just fine.

Zink: "The most important training these guys have is experience. We go through a pretty extensive training program in their early years and every year after that."

With signs saying a "railroad crossing," some say its hard to understand how the driver missed seeing the train.

Zink: "Even the angle of the road to the track indicates it should've been easily seen but it takes a loss of situational awareness for one moment for this sort of thing to happen.

A split second can make all the difference at a railroad crossing, and authorities admit the truck driver is fortunate that he didn't get seriously injured.

The truck and train have already been removed from the track, which has already reopened.

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