One dead after being struck by train in Fairfield

UPDATE: Sept. 9: The Fairfield Police Department, the Jefferson County Attorneyâ??s Office and the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner have completed the investigation into the death of Mark Dean Kneeskern. At this time, authorities have concluded that there is no evidence of a homicide or suicide.

The following investigative details are being released:

Kneeskern was observed in a supine position on the south track, partially on the tracks. Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway personnel immediately activated the trainâ??s emergency braking system. BNSF Railway personnel also immediately activated the trainâ??s horn repeatedly. Kneeskern did not respond to these warnings and did not appear to move.

There is no evidence, at this time, to explain why Kneeskern was in this position at the location. FPD officers have not identified any evidence that Kneeskern was having any difficulties. There also was no evidence of any altercations with persons, prior to his death. All witnesses advised he was friendly and happy during contact they had with him that night. The only evidence identified as a possible concern in Kneeskernâ??s death was his BAC (blood alcohol content) and the minor criminal offense of trespassing on BNSF Railway private property. Kneeskernâ??s BAC level was significantly high but there were no other drugs found in his system.

FPD officials have been asked if the railroad quiet zone in Fairfield had any involvement in this accident. It was stated several times during interviews that safety will always take precedence over the quiet zone. It was documented during the investigation that BNSF Railway personnel repeatedly activated the same horn used at intersections immediately after detecting the dangerous situation. For an undetermined reason, Kneeskern did not respond to these warnings.

FPD officials would like to take this time to remind citizens of the following in the hopes of avoiding another tragedy:

-BNSF Railway property is considered private property.

-Citizens are allowed to cross the tracks at the designated crossing areas, utilizing the most direct path possible.

-Citizens are not allowed in any area other than crossing areas.

-Citizens outside the designated crossing areas are trespassing and may be issued a criminal citation or arrested.

The Fairfield Police Department wants to thank Mr. Kneeskernâ??s family and friends for their cooperation and understanding during this lengthy investigation. The department also wants to thank all the agencies who assisted: the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner, the Jefferson County Attorneyâ??s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriffâ??s Office and Midwest Ambulance Service.


UPDATE: The Fairfield Police Department has released the name of the victim in Sunday morningâ??s train fatality.

He has been identified as Mark Dean Kneeskern, 42, of West Des Moines.

Authorities are still trying to establish a timeline of activities of Kneeskern during his time in Fairfield.

Fairfield P.D. officers have not identified all persons who may have had contact with Kneeskern during his visit to Fairfield. They are asking anyone with information about Kneeskernâ??s whereabouts during his visit to the Fairfield area to contact the Fairfield Police Department at (641) 472-4146.


One person is dead after being struck by a train near the 9th Street crossing in Fairfield this weekend.

According to authorities, Fairfield Police Dispatch received an emergency call from Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad around 4:15 a.m. Sunday reporting that a train had struck a person on the railroad tracks.

Captain David Thomas of the Fairfield Police Department tells KTVO that the investigation is ongoing.

No names are being released, pending notification of family.