(Crawford, Texas and Statham, Georgia – June 3, 2011)
Over 1,000 miles separated two serious railroad crossing accidents Friday, but the circumstances were strangely similar, as two semi-trailer trucks became hung up on high-profile railroad crossings. Efforts to halt later-arriving freight trains were not successful.
In Crawford, Texas, a tractor-trailer hauling an oil drilling rig became stuck at the humped grade crossing of FM Road 185 and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks. A BNSF train rounded the curve as the trucker went for help in extricating his stuck trailer.
Efforts to halt the train even involved Crawford Police Chief Edward McCoy, who was only 20 feet from the trailer when the BNSF train struck and demolished it and its load Friday afternoon. Witnesses complained that the same crossing had been the site of numerous previous truck-trailer hang-ups, even though the crossing is approved for routing of low-boy trailers by the Texas Dept. of Transportation.
Full story HERE
Earlier Friday, about 10:30 A.M., a trailer truck-load of antique, vintage automobiles became stuck on the CSX Railroad tracks crossed at a high angle by Jefferson Street/Georgia Highway 211 in Statham, GA. The tractor-trailer and its payload were virtually destroyed by a 56-car CSX train powered by four locomotives as local officials tried to stop the oncoming train.
Statham Mayor Robert Bridges, who was nearby preparing for a grand opening celebration, saw the train coming and despite his attempts to warn the train crew, the train struck the tractor-trailer. Three of the vintage autos, including a Ford Model T, were destroyed or badly damaged.
Georgia State Patrol’s Motor Carrier Division cited Richard Lewis, the driver, with a litany of driving offenses including “failing to get out of his truck and measure the roadway’s angle” adding insult to the injury.
Lewis, who rarely uses his valid DOT commercial trucker’s license anymore, and was hauling the antique vehicles to an auction, said “I lost everything today.”
Numerous witnesses, who work nearby, were critical of the high profile of the railroad crossing, and that “Trucks pulling lowboy trailers – the kind used to haul heavy equipment – often get stuck on the tracks at this intersection because of the grade leading up to the crossing.”
Meanwhile, Lewis, the victim, was livid about being blamed for the accident. “They told me that I wasn’t supposed to take my vehicle across there unless I got out to see if it could handle my truck or not. That’s a state route there – they were designated for tractor-trailers to go through there, and my tractor-trailer got stuck on that railroad track. I could have been killed right there, and they wrote me a citation.”
Read more about the accident HERE