Ben Brummer took his eye off the road, and it nearly caused instant death. Instead, he's probably a bit shaken up and has one hell of a story to tell.
Brummer, a 59-year-old semi truck driver from Westbrook, was pulling a full load of corn into an ethanol plant in Heron Lake around 9 a.m. last Thursday morning. As Brummer passed over the railroad tracks -- which are marked with a sign, but not flashing lights -- he didn't notice that a Union Pacific train was barreling down on him.
A very loud, very scary moment later, Brummer's semi truck was cut in two pieces by the train. His corn haul was thrown everywhere, and the truck was destroyed.
Brummer was not only alive but completely unharmed, and, according to Jackson County Sheriff Roger Hawkinson, thanking God that he'd made it out with a pulse.
Mark Davis, a spokesman for Union Pacific, said the train wasn't hauling any cargo, and was only made up of a few locomotive cars. The maximum speed for a train in that area is 30 miles an hour, Davis said.
There was some damage to the first couple cars, but the train was headed toward its destination again a little after noon on Thursday.
The same cannot be said for Ben Brummer's truck, which looks like it'll be out of commission for a while. The train sent the back half of the truck into the ditch and left the front half of the trailer still attached to the cab, which, it must be remembered, still had Ben Brummer inside it.
Brummer was cited for failing to yield at the tracks for his oversight.
"I think the realization was kind of sinking in as we spoke," Sheriff Hawkinson told the Star Tribune. "It was one of those things he was thanking God for."
Here, courtesy of the Jackson County Sheriff's office, are photos of the aftermath: