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10/11/2013
Trucker who got stuck on train tracks faces citation in Midland, Texas
By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor

Police say they’ll cite a trucker whose trailer got stuck on railroad tracks in Midland, Texas, prior to being struck by a train on Wednesday, Oct. 9. No one was injured in the crash, but a video posted by local news sites has gone viral. It was the third high-profile crash in less than a year involving a truck and train in the West Texas city.

The Texas Department of Public Safety office in Midland says that the Union Pacific crossing at County Road 1130 is off-limits to vehicles with low ground clearance, and the trucker should not have taken the vehicle across.

“He just got stuck over there, and the train hit his trailer. He high-centered, basically,” Public Information Officer Elena Viramontes told Land Line on Thursday.

Viramontes said the trucker, Blaine J. Harrison, will be cited, but could not confirm what the citation would entail.

“That will be up to the investigating officer,” she said.

Viramontes said the intersection is marked with signs prohibiting low-clearance vehicles from crossing.

“Lowboys have a different route they need to go through,” she said. “I don’t know why he went through that route. His lowboy was going to get stuck. From what I was told, he went over and it got stuck, it high-centered, and he just couldn’t get it out. The train was coming and basically he just jumped off the truck and got out of the way. No one was hurt, thank God.”

The video of the crash, captured by a hand-held camera, shows the truck on the tracks as a train approaches. The train then strikes the trailer, sending a load of pipes into the air and dragging the trailer the length of eight or nine train cars before the video cuts off. CNN was among those showing the video on Thursday.

The incident was the third grade-crossing crash in Midland in the past eleven months.

On June 3, trucker Steven Baker, 53, of Riverside, Calif., was killed when his rig was struck at the Fairgrounds Road crossing.

And on Nov. 15, 2012, a truck carrying 24 passengers on a flatbed in a parade honoring wounded military veterans was struck by a train that was traveling 62 mph. Four people were killed in that crash. Federal investigators pointed to the confusion of the parade, the routing, the permits and a reported lack of communication with Union Pacific as factors in the crash. The trucker was not charged.

See related story:
Train strikes flatbed hung up on tracks in Midland, Texas

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