A local driver is counting his blessings today! He was able to avoid a potentially fatal car accident in West Knoxville when he escaped his truck just after it got stuck on the train tracks. After he made it out safely, the vehicle was hit by a 33-car CSX Corp. freight train. The accident happened near on Jackson Road, near Amherst.
“He wasn’t trying to beat the train, he just got stuck there on the tracks,” said Knoxville Fire Department spokesman Capt. D.J. Corcoran.
Train tracks are the location of numerous fatal car accidents. In these situations, motorists often stand little to no chance surviving the impact of an oncoming train. Our Tennessee car accident attorneys ask that all residents be cautious when traveling near trains and their tracks. While you may think you’d be able to see a train coming and escape its path, that’s not always the case. Some statistics conclude that a train and a car collide every 12 minutes in the U.S. This means that about 9,570 train accidents happened in 2009. Of these accidents, it’s estimated that nearly 650 people were killed and another 6,670 people were injured. More than 95 percent of these accidents happened at rail-highway intersections and in trespassing instances.
Neither the truck driver nor the operator of the train involved in the West Knoxville train-truck accident is facing any charges, according to Knox News.
According to Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk, the flatbed truck was carrying an earth mover. It was heading southbound on Jackson when it was struck. The train was heading eastbound and unable to stop before hitting the truck.
The driver of the flatbed truck said he heard the warning bells and saw the railroad crossing arm descending. At that point, he jumped out of his vehicle. He said there was no other choice. The company owning the flatbed called its hazardous materials team to the scene of the accident for cleanup. After the collision, diesel fuel leaked out onto the tracks and the roadway. The train was carrying ethanol and butane. Thankfully, the cars carrying these materials were further back and not affected by the crash.
In the state of Tennessee there are nearly 2,820 public at-grade railroad crossings. To help to reduce the risks of motor-vehicle accidents in these locations, the Tennessee Department of Transportation previously launched a safety campaign. This safety campaign consists of posters and billboards scattered throughout areas near high traffic railroad crossings. These signs are to remind pedestrians and drivers to be alert near crossings and railroad tracks.
In 2009 and 2010, there were nearly 100 train-vehicle accidents in the state of Tennessee. In these accidents, five people died and more than 25 were injured.
Drivers are asked to use caution near all train tracks, but especially at ones near rail-highway intersections. Never attempt to cross train tracks unless you’re sure you can make it all the way across. If you see a train coming, stop a significant distance from the tracks to avoid a collision. Turn your radio down when approaching these areas so that you can hear your surroundings, too. Accidents with trains are highly preventable with the proper safety precautions. Be careful out there and stay alert.
If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in a train accident in Knoxville, Maryville or elsewhere in the surrounding areas, contact Knoxville Accident Attorney Mark Hartsoe for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (865) 524-5657.
Train strikes tractor-trailer stuck on tracks; driver OK, by Jim Balloch, Knox News