VASSAR TOWNSHIP, MI – On Monday February 8th, 2021, at approximately 3:55 pm, troopers from the Michigan State Police (MSP) Caro Post were dispatched to Brown and Hess Road in Tuscola County, Vassar Township for a single vehicle that struck a train.
The subsequent investigation revealed a white full-size commercial van, operated by a 53-year-old Vassar Township man, was traveling east on Brown Road. Upon approach to the railroad crossing area situated just west of Hess Road, the driver was unable to stop in time for a train traveling north on the tracks due to icy road conditions. As a result, the van entered the crossing and had a collision with the train engine. The driver advised he was approaching the railroad crossing and due to vision obstructions, he was unable to see the train in time and due to the snow and icy roads, he was unable to avoid hitting the train. It should be noted the railroad crossing was not equipped with crossing gates or a lighted signal and was marked with a yield sign.
The van sustained disabling front-end damage and the train, which is owned and operated by Huron and Eastern Railway Company, Inc. out of Vassar, MI., sustained minimal damage. Neither the train conductor or the driver of the van was injured during the incident and both refused medical treatment. Speed was determined as a factor in the crash however, alcohol and drugs were believed to not be involved. Ultimately, the driver of the van was determined to be at fault for the crash and was cited at the scene and released without incident.
The Michigan State Police Caro Post would like to remind drivers that during inclement weather to remember to “Drive slow on ice and snow” and to approach all railroad crossings with extreme caution.
Troopers were assisted on scene by the City of Vassar Police Department, the Tuscola County Sheriff’s Office, and the Village of Millington Police Department.