Train, log truck collide

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 14, 2002

"I looked up and yelled 'Stop, stop, stop!' and he just kept going," said eyewitness Daisy Mills, an employee at the EZ Mart in Red Level.

It was early Wednesday afternoon and the woman just happened to look out of the store window in time to see a tractor trailer truck crest the hill and approach the intersection where Highway 55 is crossed by County Road 107.

A railroad also crosses 55 there, and as the truck came closer, so did a train from the Three Notch Railroad.

"It looked like (the truck driver) was going to try to turn left onto 107," she said. She said that the truck looked as though it were about to tip, heavy with a load of logs, and then changed direction again.

"It looked like he was going to try to beat the


He didn't.

The truck and train collided, derailing the engine and sending it several feet off of the track, crumpling the passenger side of the truck's cab. The truck bed overturned, spilling logs into the grass along the shoulder and debris into the street.

The momentum of the train pushed the truck into a drainage gulley, taking out the railroad crossing warning lights as they went.

Diesel fuel spread in massive, dark red pools, increasing the dangers for emergency workers, who arrived soon after Miller placed a call to 911.

"We know the truck was out of Evergreen," said one deputy with the Covington County Sheriff's Department. The deputy added that the driver got out of the vehicle by himself and was transported to the Andalusia Regional Hospital. His name and condition were not available at press time.

The rest of the train remained on the tracks, blocking traffic across Highway 55. According to the Alabama Department of transportation, the highway was closed down and would remain so until this morning (Thursday), when work could resume.

The difficulty in moving both truck and engine was attributed to the soft ground left by recent rains, according to one report. Officials were also waiting for the arrival of the HAZMAT team, required because of the large amounts of diesel fuel spilled in the area.