CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A truck driver is recovering after his 18-wheeler was no match for an oncoming train in Chattanooga. The crash happened one day after an elderly Chattanooga man lost his life in a train crash along the same road one county away.  

Emergency officials on the scene say a tractor trailer was in the middle of a Chattanooga railroad crossing when a train slammed into it. The train finally came to a halt over the Georgia line in Dade county. This crash was only five minutes from Wednesday's train wreck that killed an elderly man in his pickup truck.

It happened Thursday morning at the railroad crossing at Birmingham Highway and Wauhatchie Pike in Chattanooga. The warning light was knocked down and still sounding. The 18-wheeler was split in two by a 90-car coal train. The truck's cab was knocked to one side of the tracks  and the crushed trailer to the other.

"We just heard a real loud bang and we knew that the train had hit someone," Janet Craft said.

Janet Craft ran onto her front porch, saw the mangled mess and feared the worst.

"That's what I was telling them on 911. It looks like as though he could've been killed," she said.

Emergency responders say the driver was taken to the hospital and is expected to be ok. Neighbors say they've witnessed several crashes here before. The crossing does have flashing lights, but not arms that lower.

"Sometimes you can't see the lights or hear them," Craft said.

They want more warnings and additional police patrols to cut down on people trying to race the trains.

Witnesses say they're surprised and thankful the driver of the tractor trailer survived the crash, but less than 24 hours earlier along the same road, an elderly man didn't.

Wednesday evening a train hit a pickup truck just four miles south at the Carroll Road and Highway 11 intersection in Wildwood. The truck's driver, 80-year-old Alvin Yount of Chattanooga lost his life.

"There's a lot of weight behind that train and it's hard to stop a train with that much weight behind it," Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross said.

Georgia and Tennessee rank among the top ten states for highway - rail accidents. Of the more than 6,000 nation-wide since 2011, they've had hundreds each. So far this year, there have been 11 in Georgia and four in Tennessee. Local law enforcement hope these crashes are a wake up call to all drivers to be extra cautious at crossings.

"Some of these crossings don't have the arms that come down with lights on them and everything, so if you come to these crossings, please stop," Sheriff Cross said.

Local law enforcement hope these crashes are a wake up call to all drivers to be extra cautious at railroad crossings.