Trucker survives collision with train

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/8/17

PLEASANT GROVE - A coal truck collided with a train Thursday morning on Pleasant Grove Road.

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Trucker survives collision with train

Posted

PLEASANT GROVE - A coal truck collided with a train Thursday morning on Pleasant Grove Road.

Scanner reports were heard at 11 a.m. Thursday about the accident. The reports indicated the driver of the truck had lacerations to the back of his head and that he was transported to a hospital by Regional Paramedical Services.

The accident happened at a crossing that is a short distance from where Pleasant Grove Road intersects at Alabama Highway 124, where Grace Chapel Church of the Nazarene is located.

Part of a wrecked vehicle appeared to be seen at the end of the train, roughly 100 yards south of the railroad crossing. An Alabama State Trooper was seen at the scene. Trucks from BNSF Railway and McCollum Midway Fire and Rescue were also at the crossing.

Regina Myers, coordinator of the Walker County Emergency Management Agency, later said she and District 2 Walker County Commissioner Jeff Burrough were at the scene, as was Warrior River Tow.

Myers said the truck was headed west going to Oakman when the accident occurred. “He had come off of 124 and turned onto Pleasant Grove Road,” he said.

The incident ripped apart the cab from the trailer in the process, leaving the trailer on the tracks, Myers said. The cab was on the west end of the road.

It is not apparent yet what caused the accident, Myers said, noting the driver didn’t know what happened.

“He was talking to the firefighters on scene. The firefighters stated he was coherent. There was no entrapment,” she said. She did not know if he got out before public safety crews arrived, nor did she know which hospital he was taken to or his condition.

A spill occurred at the scene, Myers said, noting an embankment goes up to the tracks.

“The BNSF guys were going to clean that up, but once we got the cab of the truck pulled onto the roadway, we noticed the underneath part of the diesel tank was busted,” she said. “So we actually had a spill on the roadway that we had to clean and we had to offload the fuel off the truck so it wouldn’t cause any further spill while they were towing it.” 

The spill was not a major problem, she said, and no nearby residents were evacuated. The trailer was more of a problem, as officials were having to decide how to take it off the track without damaging the track.

“That track in certain areas is built up,” Myers said, noting access to one side they needed to be was more restricted. “We were trying to get the cab of the truck moved so they could back the train up a little bit, because the trailer was still up against the front end of the engine.” 

Myers had to leave the scene that afternoon to work at the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County Christmas Parade in Jasper, and officials were still working at the scene. “They were still on the scene. It is still closed as of right now,” she said at 3 p.m.

The train was still covering the intersection at mid-afternoon. She said the train can’t be backed up too far due to track inspection needs.

No timetable was given as when the scene could be reopened, speculating it could be several more hours due to the difficulty of getting the trailer off the track.

Staff writer Elane Jones contributed to this report.