BEMIDJI -- Although a train allegedly struck a person in Bemidji, authorities have not been able to locate the individual and witnesses said the male walked away from the scene.
The Bemidji Police Department issued a statement on the incident, which occurred around 4:50 p.m. near the intersection of the railroad crossing and Washington Avenue. Multiple witnesses told police officers they saw a man standing on the east side of Washington Avenue on the railroad tracks and that the man was facing the oncoming train. The man allegedly stepped off the tracks but then stepped back on just as the train reached the location, according to the press release.
The train's engineer told officers he saw the male but wasn't able to stop in time. "Then engineer heard the impact and saw objects fly into the air," the release said.
The release said other witnesses saw the train knock the male to the ground. The witnesses then told officers they saw the male stand up, collect some belongings from the ground, and walk southwest to Washington Avenue. The officers located the impact area in the snow along the south side of the railroad tracks.
The release said there was no sign of injury or of the male. The officers followed foot tracks in the snow to the area of Washington Avenue, which the witnesses described.
Although multiple officers searched the area on foot and with thermal imaging, they were unable to find the male. The Bemidji Police Department asks residents to check their properties, garages and vehicles. Local hospitals have been notified of the incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the department at (218) 333-9111.
Another accident involving a pedestrian and a train occurred in Bemidji just over a year ago in September 2018. The incident happened near the wastewater treatment facility at the Lake Irving Access Loop railroad crossing.