Bend RR overpass crash shifted tracks 3 feet

Repairs shut Brosterhous Rd. for over a day

BEND, Ore. - SE Brosterhous Road in Bend reopened Tuesday afternoon, more than 24 hours after a backhoe being towed by a pickup truck smashed into the railroad overpass, shifting the tracks above by three feet. The driver was cited.

The road was closed longer than expected due to more rail repairs needed Tuesday after the crash, in which the driver was cited by police.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Monday, police responded to the single-vehicle crash at the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad overpass, which is posted with a minimum clearance of 12 feet, 10 inches.

The driver of the pickup, Seth Morgan, 37, of Bend, called 911 dispatchers to report he'd been driving south on Brosterhous, towing a large backhoe on a flatbed trailer when it struck the overpass, causing significant damage, said police Sgt. Ron Taylor.

BNSF crews responded and confirmed there was some structural damage to the overpass, causing some trains to be rerouted, Taylor said.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas in Seattle said the crash left the track "out of alignment," so repair crews and equipment had to be sent in.

The railroad span was out of service for five hours Monday, Melonas said, and while back in service Tuesday (at a 10 mph "slow order"), more repairs were under way.

Brosterhous Road was restricted to one lane for nearly two hours while the backhoe and debris were cleared, Taylor said.

But due to the repair work, Brosterhous remained closed Tuesday, forcing drivers to use alternate routes. The road reopened shortly before 3 p.m., officials said.

A city road official said the railroad reopened the tracks were shifted some three feet, requiring them to be repaired, then reattached to the pilings.

Due to the relatively low height of the overpass, compared to newer ones, it's been struck numerous times over the years, Taylor said.

Morgan was evaluated by Bend Fire medics but did not need further treatment for any injuries, Taylor said.

An investigation found Morgan was at fault, Taylor said, and he was cited for careless driving.

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