Collision at crossing halts downtown traffic

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A truck and train collision Saturday afternoon left railwaycrossings in Brookhaven blocked for over an hour, Brookhaven PoliceDepartment officials said.

A southbound freight train blocked all crossings in the city ofBrookhaven Saturday after a truck, which was attempting to pullaround a crossing gate on Minnesota Street, was hit by the thetrain.

Christopher M. Smith, 31, was traveling west on Minnesota Streetaround 1 p.m. when he attempted to beat the train by pulling aroundthe crossing bars, said Chief of Police Pap Henderson. However, thefront passenger tire of Smith’s Ford F350 fell off the pavement onthe west side of the track, causing the truck to be stuck intrain’s path.

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Henderson said no one was injured in the collision. Smith,though, was issued a citation for disregarding a traffic device,the chief added.

The 110-car train, fully loaded with soy beans, had slowed to 13mph when it struck the back passenger side of the truck, Hendersonsaid. The train locked its brakes and two locomotives and fourrailroad cars slid past the intersection before it stopped.

Railroad officials had no comment on the accident.

Henderson expressed a need for drivers to pay attention to theflashing railway crossing bars.

“This is the result when people don’t listen,” Hendersonsaid.

The train began to move around 2:10 p.m. and traffic was againable to cross the tracks.