UPDATE:Train collides with truck in Hazen, no injuries or deaths reported
April 1, 2013
A train collided with an 18-wheeler Monday at about 10:45 a.m. at Hazen.
According to the Churchill County Sheriff Ben Trotter, there were no injuries or deaths.
Trotter said Tran Thituy, 61, of Texas was driving the Sacramento-based Lucky Rider truck southbound on California Road when the train, traveling eastbound, struck the back end of the trailer. The result split the empty trailer in half and took down a stop and crossing signs.
Calls to Union Pacific were not returned.
“It was one of those things,” Trotter said. “She didn’t look.”
According to Trotter, Thituy told the CCSO she stopped at the sign and did not see the 150-car Union Pacific train, which Trotter estimated was traveling about 60 mph. The train, which is used to carry grain according to Rich Gent, state director for rail safety with Operation Life Saver, was empty.
Trotter, though, said after Thituy stoped, she started to roll through the crossing. When she noticed the oncoming train, Thituy accelerated before the train could strike the cab of the truck.
She was cited for failure to yield, but Trotter said Thituy is not suspected of being under the influence. Trotter said field sobriety tests were conducted and Thituy passed.
Further alcohol tests, Trotter added, may be conducted by Lucky Rider.
“If it was 15 second earlier, it could have resulted in death,” Trotter said.
The crossing, Trotter said, did not have signals, although they were in the process of being installed.
Gent, meanwhile, said optical illusions affect motorists attempting to judge the speed and size of a train. In addition, he said the average train weighs 12 million pounds and can take up to one mile to stop.
“People assume those trains can stop relatively quickly,” Gent said. “An average train traveling 55 mph takes 1 minute to clear the crossing, so just wait for it to go by. That way you’re not playing chicken with a train. It’s not worth your life.”
Gent added that reports of drivers running the stop sign at the California Road intersection have been an issue.