STURGIS - A 77-year-old man was not injured even after a train collided with the driver’s side of his vehicle Thursday night in Sturgis.

Sturgis Police Chief Geody VanDewater said Robert Wallace, of Lemmon, was traveling west on Ball Park Road, and attempted to cross the tracks when his vehicle collided with the northbound train.

VanDewater said the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern train collided with the vehicle on the driver’s side door, pushing the vehicle at least 750 feet before coming to a stop near the top of McNenny Drive.

“The people on the train noticed he (Wallace) wasn’t slowing down and they started taking evasive action,” VanDewater said.

The collision, which happened about 5:40 p.m., blocked several city streets that cross the tracks for hours following the accident including Ball Park, Vanocker Canyon Road and Otter Road. 

VanDewater said the male was alert and conscious when EMS personnel arrived on scene and actually walked to the ambulance. He was transported to Monument Health Sturgis Hospital for observation.

Two wreckers from Zylstra Towing were brought in to remove the vehicle from the tracks. There is a gravel road adjacent the tracks that runs from its intersection on Park Street that allowed crews to access the train. 

The police chief said crews on the train had sounded the whistle as they approached the crossing. And the train was traveling about 20 to 30 mph at that point, he said.

VanDewater reminds people to always look both ways and yield at railroad crossings, especially those with no warning lights, such as the one at Ball Park Road.

“We need to make sure whether it is day or night to look both ways. It doesn’t hurt to come to a stop and look,” he said.

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