(South Gate, California – September 30, 2011)
A Union Pacific switch engine crew, moving a string of railroad tank cars across the dangerous, unguarded crossing of Ardine Street in South Gate, CA about 11:50 A.M. Friday morning, collided with and overturned an 18-wheeler tank truck, causing injuries to the trucker. The driver was then transported to a nearby hospital with undisclosed injuries.
About 100 gallons of what was described as “non-toxic lubricating vegetable oil” was spilled as a result of the collision, some of which made its way into a nearby storm drain, but was diverted by firefighters responding to the accident scene. Even though the crossing is protected with just a single passive railroad crossbuck sign there was no word of a UP crew member flagging traffic to stop as the tank cars were moved across the street.
Despite the narrow alley obscured by industrial buildings Union Pacific Spokesman Aaron Hunt said “it appeared the truck driver tried to beat the train over the tracks when the train struck the vehicle.”