Cause of train wreck still under investigation
August 28, 2008 · Updated 10:44 AM
MARYSVILLE As of late the afternoon of March 24, the cause of the March 17 train/semi-truck collision near the 133rd block of State Avenue still was under investigation.
Police spokesman Lt. Jeff Goldman said local officials were ready to release some information regarding the crash when at least two new witnesses stepped forward or were uncovered by investigators. Goldman described the witnesses as possibly possessing substantial information and, with that in mind, officials delayed releasing any conclusions regarding the crash.
The lead investigator working on the incident could not be reached for comment by The Globe deadline for this issue. Director of public affairs for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Gus Melonas described the cause of the crash as still under investigation by his company.
According to Goldman and others, the incident occurred about 5:50 a.m. March 17. 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. The impact derailed three train engines and one car. The truck cab was left largely intact, while the trailer was destroyed and pushed what Goldman estimated to be about three blocks.
The truck was carrying a load of frozen pizzas and desserts, which ended up scattered along the tracks and the side of State Avenue. Melonas did not discuss the contents of any of the train cars, but said none were hauling any hazardous materials.
According to Goldman, the truck driver was not injured. Melonas said two train engineers were taken to local hospitals and treated for what he described as bumps and bruises. On the day of the accident, Goldman said the truck driver submitted to alcohol and drug testing and there was no reason to believe either was a factor.
As a result of the collision, State Avenue was closed to all but emergency crews from shortly after the incident until about midnight the day of the accident, Goldman said. As for train traffic, Melonas said it was stopped as well, but returned to normal by 1:30 a.m. March 18.
Melonas added local maintenance crews removed all damaged engines and cars to a Burlington facility in Everett for mechanical inspection. Damaged track was removed and replaced by hand. Some railroad materials remain near the site of the incident, Melonas said, but added they would be removed in the next few weeks.