A train derailed in Collegedale, Tennessee, after it struck a flatbed trailer hauling a 134-foot concrete bridge beam on Tuesday.
The crash occurred around noon Tuesday at the intersection of Apison Pike and University Drive. The impact destroyed both the truck’s flatbed trailer as well as a locomotive and 10 train cars, the Chattanoogan reports. Some passersby got incredible footage of the moment the train slammed into the trailer and concrete beam:
A motorist called 911, which sent Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department and Collegedale Police Department to the scene. The Chatanooga Fire Department joined the investigation and cleanup of the site with special investigators, battalion chiefs and a hazmat team to deal with some leaking diesel fuel.
How could this happen? It turns out, it was just an unfortunate turn of events, at least according to the preliminary investigation. A spokesperson for county emergency preparedness gave a statement to the Chattanoogan:
According to fire officials, the driver of the tractor trailer was stopped on the railroad tracks waiting for the light to turn green on Tucker Road. During that time, Norfolk Southern Railroad activated its crossing arms. The tractor trailer was unsuccessful of clearing the railroad tracks and was hit by the train. Three locomotives and 10 railroad cars derailed and slammed into each other causing a disastrous mess. Two Norfolk employees sustained minor injuries and were transported to local area hospitals by HCEMS.
Two employees of the transportation company Norfolk Southern were injured in the crash. The truck driver, who was reportedly attempting to cross the train tracks when the load was struck, did not suffer any injuries, WATE News reports.
If you feel a bit silly getting pumped to watch metal tear through concrete and also metal, just comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are engaging in a time honored tradition. Train derailment and destruction have always been a fascination for Americans. Over 100 years ago, we were smashing perfectly good trains into each other at state fairs for fun. A temporary town called Crush, Texas, became the second largest city in Texas for its entire one-day lifespan just so folks could watch two trains collide (with disastrous results.)