Le MARS, Iowa | A train hit a semi-trailer carrying frozen dairy products Wednesday morning.
The accident took place before 11 a.m. Wednesday at a crossing near the intersection of Business Highway 75 and 18th Street, not far from Wells Enterprises' South ice cream plant. Frozen dairy treat containers were scattered on the ground around the twisted semi-trailer and the tracks.
Le Mars Fire Chief David Schipper said the Canadian National Railway train was traveling southbound and the semi was headed west with its connected trailer parked on the railroad tracks.
"The semi was waiting to get onto 75 and a train started coming and the gates came down on top of him and the train hit him," Schipper said. "He didn't even see it or I guess he thought he was crept out far enough."
Schipper said the driver was "shook up" after it happened and was taken to Floyd Valley Healthcare in Le Mars for evaluation. He is expected to be released Wednesday.
The semi truck was owned by Schuster Company. The trailer was decorated with a photo of Wells' signature treat, the Bomb Pop. The contents inside were labeled for dairy products for the treat companies of Jamba Juice and Jolly Rancher.
Police Capt. Tim Hop estimated damages to the trailer at $50,000 with the loss of frozen treats also estimated at $50,000.
"We actually saw some kids pick some up on the other side and run off with them," Schipper said, slightly grinning.
The Canadian National train had two employees on board. They were uninjured. Crews on scene with Union Pacific -- the company that tends the tracks -- could not estimate when the crossing would be cleared up.
"The west-side crossing (arms were) knocked over by the trailer," Hop said. "... It looks like they are going to have to get new parts for it because they are damaged pretty severely."
Hop did not know when the crossing would reopen.
The driver of the truck was cited for blocking a railway with a commercial vehicle.
The accident did cause a 40-gallon diesel spill but it was quickly contained, Schipper said.
This is the second train-truck crash in the Plymouth County seat in less than four months. On Dec. 31, a semi-trailer hauling raw turkey was sliced in half by a train at a downtown crossing on Highway 3, near the Fareway store. That truck was traveling west and its trailer was struck by a southbound Union Pacific train -- cutting it in half and dragging the truck for about 100 feet until the 87-car train came to a complete stop. The driver was taken to the local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.