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Wednesday train collision disrupts traffic

A near-death experience left a Brookhaven man shaken up after atrain slammed the rear end of his pickup truck Wednesdaymorning.

Witnesses said the black Ford Ranger driven by Percy Ford, ageand address unavailable, was struck by a southbound CanadianNational train about 10:26 a.m.

Ford’s eastbound truck was sent sailing across the tracks andinto a utility box at the railroad crossing on Minnesota Street,according to witnesses. The train struck the truck in the rear,scattering debris, a rear tire, ladders and paint all over theaccident scene.

Brookhaven Police Department Chief Pap Henderson arrived on thescene after the accident had occurred and suggested that Ford,visibly shaken from his experience, be taken to King’s DaughtersMedical Center for treatment. KDMC Chief Development Officer JohnnyRainer said Ford was checked out at the medical center and laterreleased.

“His condition was good on discharge,” said Rainer.

Traffic was halted in downtown Brookhaven for nearly an hourfollowing the morning accident. The stopped train, carryingmultiple cars of steel coil, stretched from Dollehite to Courtstreets.

Vehicles were diverted to Gordon Street, south of the scene, andEnterprise Street, north of the scene.

Several eyewitnesses and the train conductor, who asked not tobe named, claimed the crossing guard was down.

“When you run through the gate, that’s the price you pay,” therailroad worker said.

Henderson said the accident report was still being completedThursday and he was unable to provide any additional details.

Jonathan Wallace, of Brookhaven, saw the accident from hisapartment on the west side of the tracks on Minnesota Street.

“I was playing with my kids. They love to watch the train goby,” said Wallace. “I saw another car pass through the guards amoment before, then I saw this truck trying to get through.”

Wallace and his friend, Stephen Magee, were the first on thescene and mentioned having seen Ford’s truck launched into the airby the powerful force of the train.

“We thought he’d died,” said Wallace.

Dorothy Dickey, of Brookhaven, also witnessed the collision. Shesaid she was waiting for the train to cross on the east side ofMinnesota Street.

“It scared me,” she said. “All I could do was reach in my purseand call 911.”

Canadian National officials investigated the scene.