Train 18-Wheeler Accident Details: Crash Led to Explosion in Maryland
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a preliminary timeline on an accident in which a CSX train crashed into a waste hauling truck just outside Baltimore, MD on May 28, and there are several troubling aspects to it.
The accident happened at 2:05 p.m., when a truck tried to cross the tracks three seconds before the train got to the crossing, despite the fact that the train had apparently been blasting its horn for a full 17 seconds before impact. The wreck caused an explosion that could be felt for miles, and spewed thick black smoke into the air for hours. It also caused 15 train cars to derail, including four which were carrying hazardous chemicals. Two rail cars burned until just before midnight, when firefighters were finally able to get it under control. In all the accident damaged several nearby buildings, and shut down an industrial area east of Baltimore for hours.
The NTSB compiled the timeline by looking at surveillance video of the crash site area and examining the physical evidence left behind, as crews cleaned up the accident site. The first of three blasts from the train’s horn began a full 17 seconds before impact. The front of the truck could be seen on video surveillance about five seconds before impact, and three seconds before impact, the truck could be seen crossing the tracks. The third blast of the train’s horn lasted right up to the time of impact. The first sign of smoke could be seen 33 seconds after initial impact, and just ten seconds after that came the first visible flames. The blast came five minutes and 23 seconds after the crash, when a hopper car containing sodium chlorate exploded.
The driver of the truck, a former firefighter, and owner of the waste company that owned the truck, was trapped in the cab for a while after the accident, and was taken to a nearby hospital in serious but stable condition. He was in the process of transporting a roll-off container from his main business plant to a site just six miles away. Two CSX workers on the train at the time were not injured.
NTSB investigators note that it’s too early to speculate about the exact cause of the accident, but it’s possible the train crossing was ineffective. It was marked with stop signs and a railroad crossing sign in each direction, but there are no gates, lights or bells. There is also a curve just before the approach to the crossing.
It’s entirely possible the railroad company was at least partly at fault, as well as the state or county where this crossing was located. If you or a loved have been the victims of a vehicle accident with a train, and you believe the crossing gave inadequate warning, contact the Texas 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible to protect your rights.