By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – A train hit a Holland semi-trailer truck July 20 when the driver, a 26-year-old Southfield man, went around the barrier on westbound Pennsylvania Road because he didn’t see a train.
The driver, who was unhurt, told police that after he drove around the crossing barrier, he heard the blasts of a train horn but still did not see a train. He said he stopped his truck, with the 53-foot trailer, thinking he had cleared the tracks, but he had not.
Later, when questioned in the presence of company personnel, the man denied that a crossing barrier had activated, or that he had gone around it.
A witness sitting in a car on the other side of the crossing said he got out of his car and waved his arms at the truck driver in an attempt to get him to clear the tracks, but said his warning was not heeded.
“I’m the one that called 911,” the witness said. “He just stopped on the tracks. I actually got out of my car and yelled at him to get off the tracks, but he just sat there until he got hit.”
Chemicals packaged in consumer-size containers on the truck created a hazardous material situation, with a strong smell noticed by responding personnel.
Fire Chief Jeffrey Carley said in media reports that the truck was carrying lacquer, paint and resins, as well as vinyl chloride pellets, which are used to make polymer piping, wire and cable coating, and packaging materials.
There were no injuries reported to train personnel, and no fire resulting from the collision. Train cars carrying chemicals were not impacted.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)