August 28, 2008 · Updated 8:49 AM
Train, truck collision closes State
MARYSVILLE All in all, we were very, very lucky, said Lt. Jeff Goldman, spokesperson for the Marysville Police Department, referring to the early morning collision between a train and semi-truck in Marysville, March 17.
Late the afternoon of March 17, after jumping their tracks, the remnants of three locomotive engines and one train car sat looking like something out of a movie on the west side of the 133rd block of State Avenue.
That jumble was in addition to the remains of a semi-trailer load of frozen food that was flung here and there along the street.
Nevertheless, Goldman said no one was seriously injured, there were no fires and no explosions when the northbound train collided with the westbound semi about 5:50 a.m. March 17. Goldman noted high tension power lines near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks were complete unscathed.
According to Goldman, the tractor-trailer was on a private drive pulling into the industrial park near the Pacific Grinding Co., 13120 State Ave., when it was struck by the Burlington Northern train.
Goldman added the truck and its driver were not headed for Pacific Grinding, though he couldnt say what company the truck was trying to reach. The first emergency response teams on the scene found the cab of the truck where they presume it was struck, according to Stephanie Price, public information officer for the Marysville Fire District.
The cab was fairly intact, Goldman said, though the trailer was destroyed totally and pushed what Goldman estimated to be about three blocks.
As of late the afternoon of the crash, Goldman declined to speculate on the cause of the collision, which still was under investigation. He said the truck driver, who was not injured, voluntarily submitted to a drug/alcohol test and Goldman felt there was no reason to believe the man was impaired at the time of the accident.
Officers at the scene said the train was reportedly traveling about 50 mph when it hit the truck. The speed limit for trains in the area is 60 mph. Train engineers reportedly did sound their horns, police also said. Goldman later added that two engineers aboard the train were taken to local hospitals, largely as a precaution, having suffered what were described as minor injuries.
A representative for the Burlington Northern railroad did not return a phone call, but Price said local fire officials determined there were no hazardous materials aboard the train. Officials closed the stretch of State Avenue near the wreck for most of the day following the incident largely for precautionary reasons. Even several hours after the incident, one large piece of railroad track could be seen bent up into the air, partly beneath one of the derailed train engines.
According to Goldman and officers at the scene, rail officials feared the track piece could snap and therefore posed a hazard to anyone nearby.
On the afternoon of the wreck, no one was sure how long State would remain closed. Goldman said cranes would be used to remove the wreckage of the trains, but added that work could take until 2 a.m., March 18. Goldman had no prediction as to when the train tracks might be reopened to rail traffic.