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I Barely Remember This Day, But it is One of The Scariest Days of My Life

Plainview News/ Dan Johnson

Getting ready to go Christmas shopping turned into one painful afternoon.

I’ve shared this story with many people, and I get the same reaction every time. “NO YOU DIDN’T GET HIT BY A TRAIN!”
Yes, I did.

December 7, 1987… My mom, aunt, cousin and myself were on our way to Rochester to get some Christmas shopping done. Not even a half mile after leaving my aunts house, those plans were derailed, after a train collided with my aunts car in the small town of Elgin, MN.

I was four years old at the time of the accident, as you can see in the article, so I have a few memories of it, but mostly it’s just a blur.
As we were getting ready to hit the road and go to Rochester, both my cousin, Carly and myself were strapped in our seats in the back seat, but we were a couple of escape artists.

Once we got rolling, we both unbuckled and jumped the seat to get in front, just to be brats. Both of our mom’s, I’m guessing, said get back there and buckle up. It’s a good thing we were being a couple brats that day and didn’t listen to mom right away or we probably wouldn’t be here to tell the story.

Less than a half mile from my aunt Mary’s house where we left from there is set of train tracks, with no cross bars that came down when a train was approaching. Not good. There is a very obscure view of the train for people heading over the tracks and the warning lights were not always up to a WORKING STANDARD.

The train conductor did NOT blow the train’s horn, so by the time my mom and aunt saw the train, it was too late. We were headed east and by the time the accident came to an end, we were facing north and 1/3 mile away from the tracks where the accident happen.

The only thing I can remember from the accident is the spinning. You know how you spin around on a ride at the fair or something like that and all you really see are lines, you can’t see any objects. That’s all I can really remember.

Once the spinning ended and we came to a stop, me and my cousin didn’t get too injured. Carly, my cousin, took a hard blow to her head, I believe that resulted in a concussion and some bumps and bruises. I smacked my face on the dash board (that explains a lot) giving me an enormous fat lip and mouth bleeding uncontrollably… but didn’t lose any teeth. My mom broke four ribs and had some lacerations and my aunt had a deep laceration to her facial cheek that required stitches, and of course we all had a lot of soreness for a while… there was a lot of medal and glass flying around.

If you read the article (above) from the accident, you’ll see that this was the train conductor’s THIRD accident in SEVEN DAYS!!!

We all survived, just a few broken bones, some soreness for a while, I was scared to death to even cross railroad tracks for the longest time (which is ironic cause I live pretty close to tracks now and cross them daily) and one hell of a story to tell.

By the way, I was four and was suppose to get a “Teddy Ruxpin” for Christmas that year. We never did get to Rochester for shopping and 26 years later, I still don’t have a Teddy Ruxpin.

See some more pictures from the accident below. And remember, LOOK BEFORE YOU CROSS RAILROAD TRACKS. It’s very unpleasant when they smash into you.

Plainview News/Dan Johnson
Cathy Fallon
Cathy Fallon

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