Two grade-crossing accidents in Colorado exactly 36 hours from each other claimed the lives of two men. That's where the similarities of the two end.
The first accident happened Tuesday December 2nd at 12:45 a.m. in Mesa county near Clifton, CO when 28 year-old Aaron David Rudder of Grand Junction was struck near a grade crossing by a Union Pacific train bound for Provo, UT. The train went into emergency but was unable to stop before colliding. Rudder was last seen at a bar about a quarter-mile from the scene where he had drank a pitcher of beer. He had refused a ride home from the bar owners. His remains were scattered by the accident and it's believed he died instantly. He leaves behind a wife of three months.
The second accident happened Wednesday the 3rd at 6:45 p.m. in Denver at 66th and Franklin Street where Jerry Rivera, a 33 year-old switchman for the Denver Rock Island shortline railroad was riding the end of a local freight train backing through the crossing at 5 m.p.h. when a Freightliner semi rig entered the intersection and pinned Mr. Rivera between the railcar and the rig. He died at the scene, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. The driver of the semi was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The grade crossing is marked by crossbucks, but no lights or gates.
Two lives cut short at Christmastime. Both accidents were preventable by safety precautions that were ignored. It didn't have to end this way, but it did. Our prayers are with the families affected by these accidents.