Freight Train Plows into a Big-Rig

July 21, 2008 7:54:38 AM PDT
A major crash shut down a Tulare County train track. A freight train slammed into a big-rig causing some major damage. It happened early Thursday afternoon.When the train struck the big-rig it fell on its right side. A 12-year-old girl was in the passenger seat. She was sent to the hospital just as a precaution and is expected to be okay. The accident caused a big back log of trucks on the small roadway.

The truck laid on its side for more than four hours after it was hit by a freight train traveling backwards at five miles per hour. Kevin Cruse from Western Milling Company says, "Apparently, there was a miscommunication between the truck crossing and the railroad crew moving the rail cars. I think the truck was trying to get ahead of the rail car and didn't make it."

The truck had just picked up a load from Western Milling, a feed plant located just a few feet from the train tracks. For hours workers tried to remove as much of the powdery material as they could to lighten the weight of the truck so it could be towed away. Cruse says, "This load was going up to a dairy near Madera. It was a load of minerals which is basically the vitamins, trace minerals and all the things dairy cows need."

The accident backed up Western Milling's shipments for hours as up to forty trucks waited in the sidelines to pick up and deliver their loads. The collision sent a large cloud of dust into the air, making it hard for crews to breathe, and clean up the mess.

Officer Felipe Martinez of the California Highway Patrol says, "It's a powder and powder does shift so it makes it somewhat difficult." Tulare County Firefighter Ken Gehret says, "It doesn't appear to be too much of a hazard, however, if it is inhaled into the lungs it can be an irritant."

Western Milling's busiest day of the week is Friday so they don't expect business to be back to normal until at least Monday. The CHP officers say they're still investigating the accident and haven't decided whether they'll file any charges.
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