UPDATE: Train derails after collision with large truck; driver cited
Courtesy: Chattanooga Police Department
Courtesy: Chattanooga Fire Department
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Chattanooga police have cited the driver of a truck that collided with a freight train Thursday morning.
The truck driver, Freeman Poindexter Jr., 44, refused to give a statement to traffic investigators
Chattanooga Police Department did issue the truck driver a citation for not stopping at the stop sign.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Chattanooga Police and Chattanooga Fire Departments are investigating a train and truck collision at a railroad crossing.
It happened around 9:30 Thursday morning in the 400 block of Wauhatchie Pike at the Wauhatchie Yards in Lookout Valley.
The truck driver had to be extricated from the cab of the truck but he is expected to be okay. The cab was found about 50 yards away in a ditch.
The train conductor and engineer also suffered minor injuries.
The derailment of the Norfolk Southern train involved three locomotives and 10 rail cars. Norfolk Southern is bringing in extra workers and heavy equipment to remove the derailed cars, and begin work on repairing the railroad tracks, which were badly damaged.
Several thousand gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the ground from ruptured fuel tanks on the locomotives, according to CFD spokesman Bruce Garner.
"We're relieved that there weren't more serious injuries than what we have with the two Norfolk Southern individuals and the one truck driver with Clean Harbors," said Garner.
The truck, called a large "roll-off" container truck, belongs to Clean Harbors Environmental, a company that assists in cleaning up spills and derailments like this one.
"The Clean Harbors truck sustained substantial damage but the container of non-hazardous material it was hauling remained in tact," said Eric Montgomery, Director of Operations.
Montgomery said it was a frightening morning, seeing the crash less than a mile from the office.
Train vs Semi w/ derailment: 400 Wauhatchie Pk CPD/CFD on scene. Surrounding intersections closed (Wauhatchie Pk/Cummings Rd/Cummings Hwy)
Chattanooga Police are investigating what caused the accident while several agencies spent hours cleaning up.
"It's my understanding there's thousands of gallons of diesel fuel that has leaked out from the ruptured tanks on the locomotives," Garner said, "They've also got to repair track. Some of the railroad track was literally just peeled away from where it normally is."
Nearby roads are closed for an extended period of time during the cleanup.
HEPACO and Marion Environmental are the two cleanup companies that will be assisting Norfolk Southern with the cleanup of the diesel and other materials. A representative with Norfolk Southern told the fire department that they hope to have the cleanup and repairs completed by Friday morning.