WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - The driver of an 18-wheeler is lucky to be alive after a freight train slammed into his rig in Waveland Monday. It happened just before 8am at the Coleman Avenue crossing on Central Avenue.
Police say the driver was attempting to cross the tracks when the legs of his trailer hung up on them.
"He saw the train coming," Officer Mac Cowand said. "He was trying to raise or get his air bags up, trying to cross over the tracks. He finally realized he couldn't do it in time, and he got out of the way."
Fortunately, the driver jumped out of the cab of the truck just seconds before impact.
"The driver is lucky to be alive," Cowand said.
The truck was hauling 46,000 pounds of steel beams. It's part of the frame work of the new St. Clare Church that's going up on the beach in Waveland.
"It's some steel we've been waiting on to get this project really going," said Jim Reynolds with Bench Mark Construction.
Many of the beams were damaged when the collision knocked them off the truck, and that could mean a building delay.
"Possibly a week or two depending on how quick the company, Sea-Co Building Systems gets us our steel back in line of what we can salvage out of there, or if there is anything salvageable," Reynolds said. "The steel is all replaceable, but not a driver."
Police said this is the second time in less than two weeks a tractor trailer has gotten hung up on the tracks at Coleman.
"This intersection has got a high ramp on both sides, which is fine for automobiles, but anything with a low riding truck seems to get hung on the framing of the truck as it goes down the ramp," Officer Cowand said. "Right now, we're contacting the engineering firm to notify all of the contractors in the area to stay away from this intersection. Any heavy equipment or low trailers."
Cowand said the mayor will have signs posted in the area making truck drivers aware of that.
"This is not a truck route. Stay away from this intersection. If they want to come across in these tractor trailers, they should use Waveland Avenue or Nicholson Avenue," Cowand said.
Mayor Tommy Longo said those signs were ordered Monday morning, and should arrive and be posted by next week.