Train/Truck collision in Crosby spares lives

Emergency personnel

By Lewis Spearman

CROSBY – At about 11:50 on Monday, May 7, this area learned again why the expression, “train wreck.” applies to many forms of mayhem.

A truck turning from Crosby-Dayton Rd. onto Ramsey Rd. had the right wheel run off the pavement and it stopped with the cab still on the train tracks. The truck crew of two men were in the process of calling for help when they saw the train coming. It was a Kansas City Southern Railroad freight train and it tried to stop at about a quarter mile from impact with the truck.

The crew abandoned the cab a few seconds before impact in the East direction, the direction from which that train was coming. They were not injured and the train engineer was not injured either.

The accident pushed the cab of the vehicle in crumpled state down the tracks ahead of it. The tanker trailer detached from the impact.

A witness says he was watching, did not want to see it but could not turn away.

According to R.W. ‘Bob’ Royall, Chief of Response and Recovery for the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Harris County Hazmat Team, the substance within the truck was polyethylene glycol, similar to the coolant used in internal combustion engines.

“It dissolves in water, it has a low toxicity. The good news is it is going to be a limited clean up. We were told there was 4750 gallons in the tank. It has been compromised on the end near the train. At the head of the tank there is a gash. Estimates are probably 10 gallons or less leaked when it happened.”

Royall’s team is part of the agency that is responsible for unincorporated Harris County.

Royall responded to questions about human damage, “I understand from having talked to the engineer that the truck tractor is still attached to the engine. There were two people in the engine of the train, both the engineer and the conductor and they both are safe.”

The owners of the truck was Bryants’ Transport Inc.

First on the scene following the incident was ESD#5. Also responding were the ambulance crews for Crosby, the Crosby Volunteer Fire Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Department, the railroad was present on both ends of the accident, Harris County Pollution Control was present because there was a small release. The trucking company representatives came to the scene.

“It is a multiple agency response.” said Royall.