Semi Driver In Train Derailment To Get Ticket - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Semi Driver In Train Derailment To Get Ticket


There are still many questions lingering one day after an Amtrak train slammed into a semi truck in Jackson County. 10 people went to the hospital after the passenger train collided with the semi that was stuck on a crossing.

It happened at the crossing near East Michigan Avenue and Portage Road. The train was heading west when it slammed into the truck carrying a large piece of equipment. The truck driver, 68-year-old David Zimmer from New York, will get a ticket as a result of the incident.

Officials with the Blackman-Leoni Department of Public Safety say he'll be cited under a statute that deals with safety at railroad crossings. Among those rules, a driver should not cross the tracks unless the vehicle has enough space underneath so it can make it over the crossing without stopping.

In the meantime, officials are looking at what happened. Crews still have a lot of work to do, but it's really amazing to see how far they've come.  

Friday, trains traversed the tracks, the same tracks that were torn and twisted just one day ago.

"It was a small mess, but it was a mess," said Rahn Stokes, Operation Safety Michigan.

It's still a site for spectators, but Rahn Stokes, who worked with railroads for about 40 years, says it should lay the groundwork to learn.

"I call it an inexpensive lesson, because nobody was killed. Equipment was beat up, track was destroyed, but all of that is reparable. But these kind of situations do exist... and education of commercial drivers, more education might be needed," said Stokes.

Investigators say the truck driver tried to get over this so called "hump crossing" but the low-riding trailer got stuck. For five minutes the driver struggled, backing up, and driving forward, nothing worked. And we know how it ended. Some say this is a is sign that perhaps there should be some kind of warning at the railroad crossing.

"I would be hopeful that they would take a look at the signage that's placed at those kinds of crossings to make sure that there is a sign there that indicates to drivers of low-boy's that this is a humped crossing, so that there is no doubt. It's an opportunity to move forward as a community and keep this from happening in the future," said Stokes.

Leaders from the Blackman-Leoni Public Safety Department did meet with the Jackson County Road Commission Thursday and the sign issue did come up. It's something the commission is exploring.  

Also, there is a phone number on the gate near the crossing you can call that will alert the rail road company and stop trains from coming through.

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