POST FALLS - A 76-year-old Rathdrum man's close call with a train Wednesday afternoon blocked Idaho Road and Prairie Avenue for several hours while law enforcement officers and Union Pacific Railroad representatives investigated.
Jay Vale was driving his 2005 Chevy Trailblazer northbound on Idaho Road and, according to Kootenai County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Tim Leeder, Vale did not stop far enough back from the train tracks as a train approached from the west.
The train struck and detached the front bumper from Vale's vehicle. According to Leeder, the man then left the scene in an attempt to make contact with the railroad company.
Vale was uninjured in the collision and was cited by deputies for failing to obey a stop sign at a railroad crossing.
"This incident should be a reminder of how important it is when approaching a railroad crossing controlled by a stop sign to come to a complete stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail of the railroad, listening and looking in both directions along the track for any approaching train, and not proceeding until it is safe to do so," Leeder said.