Early morning sunlight may have caused fatal truck vs. train collision

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email
Posted By Molly Reuter - bio | email

PANOLA COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A truck driver is killed after his 18-wheeler truck collides with a train.  Authorities in Panola County say the wreck happened on the Northwest Loop in Carthage.  Authorities say despite all the safeguards, the driver may never have seen this coming.

"The truck and the individual, we pulled him out of that," said DPS Trooper Troy Tower, pointing at the truck.  "That's after we had already used the jaws of life to extract him.  "The impact was very detrimental and fatal."  DPS says the 36 year-old truck driver was still alive shortly after the collision.

"He was semi responsive to speech," said Tower.  "He had some flinches and stuff, he was still alive at the time, but he ended up expiring within minutes."  A quarter-mile down the tracks, the other part of the 18-wheeler lies, still attached to the train.

"Railroad arms were activated, lights were activated, they came down," said Tower.  "According to witnesses and stuff, the trucker didn't see it in time.  The train applied the emergency braking situation, and they did everything followed by policy.  He wasn't able to stop in time as you can tell by a heavy loaded train."  DPS says the truck driver may have been blinded by the bright sunlight.

"The position of the sun that early in the morning, it is a factor in it, but it just goes to prove once again that you need to use extreme caution and care anytime you're dealing with any kind of railroad crossing," said Tower.  This tragedy carries with it a warning for other drivers.

"Slow down," said Tower.  "Those extra few minutes it takes to get to that position can make the difference between living, or dying, and that's basically what kind of happened here today."  DPS says both the engineer and train conductor were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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