Train Slams Heavy Equipment Into Long Beach Business - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/03/04

Train Slams Heavy Equipment Into Long Beach Business

Those who witnessed the accident, expected the worst.

A train wreck in downtown Long Beach created quite a mess but caused no injuries.

It happened when a truck driver, pulling a trailer loaded with construction equipment, got stuck on the railroad tracks at Jeff Davis Avenue.

No one was injured when the CSX train slammed into a ten ton track hoe. The accident left the truck driver shaken and witnesses shaking their heads in disbelief.

It was raining when a truck driver, pulling a trailer, got his rig stuck on the tracks. The train knocked the track hoe through a nearby business, then dragged the trailer several hundred yards down the tracks.

Firefighter Scott Dubuission was first on the scene.

"Watching that track hoe roll through that building, I figured everyone inside was dead. I kind of made a premature call for every engine in town to respond. And it's kind of good that we didn't need them," he explained.

Witnesses agree it could have been tragic. The owner of B-and-B Boat Storage watched helplessly as tons of steel headed his way.

"We couldn't do anything. I mean you just sit there and stand in awe. And we'd talked about it a hundred times, to get out of here and run if anything happens like this. And it was just absolutely unbelievable," said Pete Byrne.

Imagine how the truck driver felt, his wheels spinning as a train was bearing down.

"I got hung up on the track. And it was raining. They're telling me not to talk to anybody. The truck spun and the train wasn't even in sight," said the driver for Fore Construcion.

Brad Ray saw it happen through the front window of Rosalie Car Wash.

"It sounded like an explosion. And I've always said, if it ever derailed it's coming through the front of the building. And I saw it coming.  I knew it and I said, I told the secretary, get out! Get out in the hall!  So, we, like a hurricane, we got in the hall and hunkered down," said Ray.

Owners of several businesses located alongside these railroad tracks said there's long been a concern about the possibility of a serious accident or a train derailment. But until now it's been something of an unspoken worry; something they've kept in the back of their minds.

"You gotta think about it. And you know we'll think about it more now," said Pete Byrne.

By Steve Phillips

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