POINT PLEASANT — A Letart man walked away without injuries Monday morning after a truck he was driving collided with a CSX train in Point Pleasant.
Charles Wise, 75, Letart, was cited in the accident for failure to yield to a railroad device, according to the Point Pleasant Police Department.
Officers with the PPPD, along with emergency personnel with the Point Pleasant Fire Department and Mason County EMS were dispatched about 10:50 a.m. to the CSX crossing at Viand Street and 11th Street. The crossing literally shuts down a portion of W.Va. 62 when a train is crossing and depending on the length of the train, can cut off one end of Point Pleasant with the other until the train passes.
According to PPPD Chief Joe Veith, the CSX train, which was from the Parkersburg Depot, was headed south to Russell, Ky. Wise was also headed south on Viand Street/W.Va. 62, driving a Chevy pickup truck pulling a trailer carrying a riding lawnmower.
Veith said it appears Wise didn’t see the train and was following the flow of traffic when the impact occurred. The train dragged the truck and trailer until the truck hit a tree, dislodging the trailer. In all, the truck was dragged 141 feet, Veith said. The truck and trailer landed on the south side of the crossing, the riding lawnmower was throw off and landed on the north side of the crossing. There was major damage done to the truck, with the worst on the passenger side of the vehicle where the initial impact occurred.
Veith said according to the account of witnesses, the caution lights were activated at the crossing at the time of the accident and the train was blowing its horn for nearby traffic to hear. Veith said there are what amounts to “black boxes” on trains similar to those on airplanes that record the train’s speed, etc., as well as cameras. Though Veith had not seen the information on this “black box,” it appears the driver of the train was going about 20 mph at the time of the accident, he said. Again, Wise did not sustain any physical injuries, Veith added.
The train, which was around 1.5 miles long, came to a standstill after the accident and until CSX officials could arrive to assess the situation. Not only did the accident shut down a state route and a busy intersection in Point Pleasant, it also shut down back streets to move around the accident, due to the length of the train. For this reason, traffic basically came to a stop from the time of the accident until around 12:21 p.m., Veith said.
Word spread quickly about the accident on social media, alerting many motorists to avoid the area or use the detour of W.Va. 2 to Jericho Road in and out of Point Pleasant.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.