(Beebe, Arkansas – February 10, 2014)
A low-clearance semi-trailer hauling a construction crane were both virtually destroyed Monday morning about 10:30 A.M. after the 18-wheeler became hung up on the crossing surface of Cypress Street where it crosses Union Pacific Railroad tracks in Beebe, AR, and was hit by a train.
The truck driver, Mark Martin, had no sign warn him of the low ground clearance at the crossing, and barely escaped the cab of the truck’s tractor when attempts by the Beebe Police Dept. to notify the oncoming train of the impaled truck failed.
Beebe Police Captain Eddie Cullum said that the driver, indeed, called the police, who in turn contacted the northbound UPRR train to no avail when the train could not get stopped in time to avoid the collision, which resulted in the crane being flung from the trailer and lodging against the fence surrounding the historically-preserved Beebe depot building. The trailer, meanwhile, was carried a considerable distance down the track by the lead locomotive.
The truck and crane were both owned by Highlines Construction Company of Ruston, LA. The accident resulted in the necessity of closing both the Cypress Street and Main Street crossings in downtown Beebe for about four hours while the collision was investigated and crews from UPRR worked to clear the debris of the crane and truck wreckage.
Even though the Cypress Street/UPRR crossing is fully signaled, there is no sign advising drivers of low-profile equipment that situations such as caused the Monday accident exist there. The accident was the fifth occurring at the crossing, the earlier four having resulted in one death and two non-fatal injuries.