Truck Driver Killed After Hitting Freight Train - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/15/05

Truck Driver Killed After Hitting Freight Train

Freight cars and pieces of the truck were strewn all over the railroad crossing. Freight cars and pieces of the truck were strewn all over the railroad crossing.

A truck driver's dead, and more than half a dozen freight cars derailed after a crash in Wayne County.

It happened just before 4:30 Friday afternoon, about seven miles south of Jesup on Broadhurst Road.

Investigators tell WTOC the truck driver killed was 29 year old Douglas Gill, from Jesup.

The train took almost a mile to stop after the collision, and there are freight cars and pieces of the truck strewn all over the place.

"That's the trailer," explained one man helping clean up Friday night. When asked how much farther the debris went, he said, "A quarter of a mile."

The entire area has the subtle smell of diesel mixed with cedar, since the wood chips the truck was carrying ended up everywhere. And that's just near the truck.

A hundred yards north of that, freight cars and trailers are lying in chaotic order, with twisted tracks literally ripped out of the ground underneath.

Wayne County Sheriff John Carter says, "The momentum of the cars kept going, even though they were on the dirt off the tracks. It had energy to keep it moving forward."

Several of the cars that derailed were actually piggybacking UPS trucks that tipped over into the woods and spilled packages. Because of that, the sheriff's department says they had problems with looters when the accident first happened. Once they secured the scene, they could start the slow process of cleaning up.

Sheriff Carter says it could take a while: "Talking with the county, they're probably going to close the road two or three days."

They're also trying to figure out exactly how this happened. Investigators say the truck driver couldn't have been trying to beat the train across the tracks, because he hit the fifth car back, including the three engines.

CSX wasn't the only company assessing damage Friday night, either: UPS had people out there, along with at least one electric company and two different telecommunications companies who had lines severed because of the wreck.

Broadhurst Road is one of the main connectors between highways 301 and 84 in Wayne county.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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