TENN - Truck Driver Dies in Crash With Train

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March 30, 2000

Title: Truck driver dies in crash with train By Jacinthia Jones The Commercial Appeal

One man died and another was injured Wednesday when their tractor-trailer loaded with pea gravel collided with a freight train in Byhalia, Miss., about 25 miles southeast of Memphis.

The 10:20 a.m. crash occurred where Fuller Street changes to Railroad Avenue near downtown Byhalia. The driver died on the scene. Police identified him as W. C. Brown, 53, who lived in the area.

A passenger in the truck, whom police did not identify, but who also is from the Byhalia area, was airlifted to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. He was listed in good condition late Wednesday, hospital officials said.

``The driver was in pretty bad shape when we got there. He was barely breathing,'' said Joe Rhey, a driver for Emergency Mobile Health Care Ambulance Service.

Rhey said he took the passenger about three-fourths of a mile to a ball field where a helicopter could land.

``He was talking. He was conscious,'' Rhey said.

The railroad said the crossing has warning signs, but no signals or gates. The intersection also has a stop sign.

``Our crew said that the truck never stopped,'' said Jerry Jenkins of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

The 47-car freight train was traveling 57 mph when it went into emergency mode and brakes were applied, Jenkins said. The authorized speed for the train in that area is 60 mph.

The train crew - an engineer and a conductor - was not injured. The train, bound for Los Angeles from Birmingham, was carrying a full load. It did not derail, but the lead locomotive was badly damaged.

To reach reporter Jacinthia Jones, call 529-2780 or E-mail jjones@gomemphis.com



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