Train hits tractor trailer, driver escapes unharmed | News
LONG VIEW, NC (WBTV)- LONG VIEW, NC (WBTV)- A driver and another man inside a tractor trailer rig escaped from their vehicle just moments before a train slammed into their trailer at NW 33rd Street in the Catawba County town of Long View. "It was a very close call" said firefighters who arrived on the scene after the collision.
Police officers Ken Liedke and Raymnd Denton went to the scene after the trucker called Long View Police for help because their rig was stuck n the middle of the railroad crossing.
"Our communicators called Norfolk Southern and asked them to stop any trains but they said it was too late," said Denton. A freight train was just a mile from the intersection and though it slowed down and engineers tried to stop it, it still slammed into the tractor trailer, splitting it in two.
Just minutes before it hit Liedke and Denton made sure the tucker and his partner were out of the truck.
When the trailer was split in two, dozens of bags of Sodium Metasilicate Pentahydrate spilled from the wreckage. The powdered chemical is used I the textile industry and elsewhere and is consider corrosive.
Hazardous Material teams spent most of Monday cleaning up the chemical from the trackside and making sure it did not cause any major problems. It didn't.
Health problems can develop. People who come in direct contact with it can suffer minor burns, and inhaling it can cause medical issues as well but officials said the rainy conditions in the morning eliminated any airborne dust and no one was allowed near open bags of the material without Wang protective gear.
Truckers who passed by the area said the intsection has been known as a place where tractor trailer rigs have been stuck in the past. In this case, as in others, what is called the "landing gear" on the trailers, the posts that extend when the trailer is not attached to a tractor rig, caught in the railroad tracks and kept the truck from moving anywhere.
"I avoid this intersection because of that," said tracker Wayne McKinney. "I just live up the road and know about the problem here."
The truckers who were stuck Monday are from Dallas, Texas and did not know about the potential problem.
Robin Campbell of Norfolk Southern said this is the first time a train has it a truck at that intersection but said as a matter of routine, the accident will be reviewed by safety teams. Campbell said at some intersections, signs are put up to warn truckers not to cross the tracks at that spot. There were no signs at the intersection in question. Campbell said it would be up to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to determine if that was needed. DOT officials said they had not had time to review th situation just yet.
Meanwhile, the train was freed fro the wreckage by afternoon and allowed to proceed on its way. Cleanup at the scene continued into the night.
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