BELL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A train partially derailed after colliding with a tractor trailer, sending emergency officials and Hazmat crews to Westmoreland County on Tuesday morning.
The impact was so intense it ripped the back of the tractor trailer off, derailed several locomotives and knocked a few freight cars off the rails; all because a GPS system had apparently not been updated.
It was a scene of mangled steel and aluminum on Bridge Street in Bell Township after authorities say the driver of the tractor trailer got lost.
“What happened is, the driver – not familiar with the area – was relying on his GPS to get to get him to Avonmore, his next stop was Avonmore,” said Dan Stevens, of Westmoreland County Emergency Services. “The road here was originally the road that went to Avonmore, but it has been closed for years. A GPS unit wasn’t giving the right information, and he thought he was heading in the right direction.”
At the same time, the Norfolk Southern freight train was rumbling toward the rear of the trailer. The train had no chance of stopping and smashed into the trailer.
The train slammed on the breaks, causing the derailment.
“We have three engines that are derailed, and also three cars that are derailed,” said Stevens.
That closed the rail line. In addition, there was also a minor chemical spill from the truck.
“What actually spilled was xylene, it was a 55-gallon drum of xylene,” Stevens said. “It was all contained to the trailer and the immediate area outside the trail.”
The driver of the tractor trailer suffered a head injury and was taken to an area hospital for evaluation. No one on the train was hurt.
Norfolk Southern as well as local authorities are continuing the investigation into the incident. There’s no word on if the driver of the tractor trailer will face any charges.