Stalled snowmobile versus train: Train wins; no one injured

Published 3:14 am Thursday, January 22, 2004

By Staff
ST. JOSEPH -- At around 9:10 p.m. on Tuesday, the Berrien County Sheriff's Department was contacted by the Canadian Pacific Railroad who advised that a west-bound freight train struck what appeared to be a snowmobile at the Pier Road crossing in Hagar Township.
Deputies Charles Schrene and Dave Camp responded to the scene to search the area for the reported wreck.
Deputy Schrene arrived first, finding a long length of debris. Deputies stated the sled was dragged 3/4 of a mile down the tracks.
The sled was a total loss.
Deputy Schrene said, "As I walked down the tracks my heart was in my hands" when I found one glove, then a set of goggles, then a helmet, a second helmet, more gloves and parts of the 1997 Artic Cat snowmobile.
No sign of blood or a body were found during the deputy's hasty initial search of the scene.
A short time later the deputies found two persons who had been operating the snowmobile.
Bobbie Joe Hahn, 36, and her 10-year-old son, Brady Robinson, from the Coloma area, diverted from a near by marked snowmobile trail and ran along the RR tracks for a while. They attempted to cross the tracks at the Pier Road Crossing. However, one ski became lodged in the steel railroad track and they became stuck and were unable to move the sled from the tracks.
The pair left their helmets and gloves on the sled while they walked to a nearby house to call friends for help.
They were "surprised" to hear a train coming down the tracks while they were calling for help, deputies said.
Officers had to work quickly to remove what was left of the sled from between two sets of RR tracks because another train was due to run these same tracks within five minutes of that time. Officers had to lift the sled over the tracks ahead of the next train.
Canadian Pacific Railroad Officials will be conducting an inspection of the tracks at the scene to look for damage to the tracks.