A Kentucky truck/train crash made national headlines recently when security video footage showed the driver, maneuvering into the Warner Fertilizer Plant north of Somerset, Kentucky, completely blindsided by an oncoming train. The impact split the cab from the trailer and sent up a ball of flames and smoke, but the driver survived with some burns and is in stable conditions.
According to reports from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, the problem stemmed from the fact that there are two entrances into the fertilizer plant – one for southbound drivers and one for northbound drivers. The driver, a 27 year-old from Auburn, Washington, was traveling northbound just after 3:00 p.m. Friday. Having missed the north entrance, he was attempting to turn the 2015 Volvo tractor-trailer into the south entrance.
He told authorities he had turned his head to watch his tires to make sure they stayed on the road as he maneuvered, and then he pulled forward – right into the oncoming train. The video footage shows the southbound train was just seconds away and would never have been able to stop.
The cab ended up on one side of the track with the trailer on the other. The trailer was loaded with charcoal lighter fluid and burst into flames. The driver was treated at the site for burns and then flown to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital; he was listed in stable condition.
The Somerset Commonwealth Journal reported that during the crash, “fuel was sprayed on the front of the train causing extensive burn damage to the train engine.” The Norfolk Southern Corporation, owners of the train, later reported that the damage is repairable. After a six-hour delay, the line was back up and running by at 9 p.m. that Friday night.