Driver Injured In Collision With Train In Rogers County

Wednesday, July 6th 2011, 2:17 pm
By: News On 6 & Emory Bryan, News On 6

VERDIGRIS, Oklahoma -- A truck-train crash closed a railroad crossing just east of Verdigris in Rogers County Wednesday afternoon.

The collision happened at the Highway 266 interchange on Route 66, at a crossing marked with flashing lights and cross arms.

The truck that was hit was carrying radioactive medical supplies. That prompted the unusual need for a radiation check of the scene.

A Claremore firefighter used a radiation monitor to examine the truck and the wreckage.

"We went ahead and sent our people in and checked the containers and got no readings that were higher than background readings," Claremore Battalion Chief Marty Osborne said.

Verdigris Police say the truck driver going eastbound went around the gates and was hit by the northbound train.

The driver of the truck was injured. Authorities were surprised that anyone hauling such unusual cargo would have tried to beat the train.

"Definitely anyone carrying hazardous materials we would hope would stop at a railroad crossing," Verdigris Police Chief Barry Lamb said.

"We'd hope that everybody stops at railroad crossings. We know that gets frustrating, think you'll be late and be tempted to go through, but the cost when you lose can be very, very expensive, it's just not worth it," he added.

The radioactive material was thrown out of the pickup - but didn't come out of its original container. It was checked and repackaged and taken away by representatives of the hauler, Cardinal Health.

Claremore Battalion Chief Marty Osborne believed this accident was the first time his department had used the radiation monitor in an actual emergency.

"I've been a firefighter for 24 years and as far as I remember, we've never used it on a scene, just used them in training," Osborne said.

The train was not hauling anything unusual, just typical freight and no one on the train was injured.