John M. Krahn saved Monica L. Ensley-Partenfelder and helped attempt to save Mackale J. Partenfelder from being struck by a train, Elm Grove, Wisconsin, May 25, 2009. Ensley-Partenfelder, 40, and her son Mackale, 1, were occupants of a minivan that got caught on a rail at a railroad crossing. A 94-car freight train was approaching the crossing on that track at about 43 m.p.h. On duty at a nearby intersection, Krahn, 41, police officer, ran to the crossing and approached the driver’s side of the minivan. He opened its driver’s door, allowing egress for Ensley-Partenfelder, and pushed her away from the vehicle. Finding that Mackale was in the minivan, Krahn worked to unlock its rear door, being joined by Ensley-Partenfelder’s husband, who had been driving another vehicle nearby. The train bore down on the crossing as the men worked to gain access to Mackale, and it struck the vehicle at undiminished speed. The minivan was knocked from the crossing to a point in an adjacent grassy area, where it came to rest upright. Still inside it, Mackale was uninjured. Krahn and Ensley-Partenfelder’s husband were also thrown to the grassy area. They required hospitalization for treatment of severe injuries, Krahn’s including numerous broken bones. He was disabled for more than a year.
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