Train, semi collide in Marietta

WARREN TWP. – Ohio 7 was closed for more than two hours Wednesday at Miller’s Junction south of Marietta after a train struck a semi truck attempting to cross railroad tracks at Marietta Industrial Enterprises.

The driver of the truck, Harold G. Young Jr., 36, of Little Hocking, was taken to Marietta Memorial Hospital with what Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Carlos Smith described as non-life-threatening injuries. Neither member of the two-man CSX crew reported injuries, a company spokeswoman said.

Because the crash occurred on private property, belonging to MIE, no citations were issued, although Trooper Timothy Gossett said Young would be considered at fault for failure to yield. Neither alcohol nor drugs are suspected as factors in the crash.

The crash happened around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday and was witnessed by Michael Harris, an employee of Richard Gessel Trucking who was backing his own semi in to unload recyclable items.

“You look back, you see a train; you look up, you see him; you see them collide,” Harris said.

Gates blocking the crossing were down on Ohio 7, but there were no gates around the portion of the track that intersects the lot at MIE.

Young, driving a vehicle owned by K&T Trucking of Little Hocking, was attempting to leave the property after delivering a load of material or equipment, Smith said.

Lelan Beall, with Prestige Delivery Systems in the MIE complex, described the sound of the crash as “just a big clap of thunder.”

The train pushed the truck into a nearby building, tearing through an adjacent shed and damaging a pair of propane tanks.

“I heard it, walked down, saw the spewing propane tanks, called 911,” said Vinnie Mele, purchasing director at MIE.

The Marietta Fire Department’s hazardous materials team was called in to assist with the propane and diesel fuel leaking from the truck, said Warren Township Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Larry Ruble.

The propane stopped leaking on its own, possibly because the tanks had emptied, he said. The diesel leak was cut off and the liquid that had already escaped contained with dirt.

“We actually got a wedge shoved into the hole on the tank,” Ruble said.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was called in to dispose of the diesel and propane.

The train consisted of three locomotives and 21 empty hoppers, a CSX spokeswoman said. She did not identify the destination of the train, but said it serves the local area.

The lead locomotive sustained some damage, as did the track, the spokeswoman said.

“Crews are currently repairing the track,” she said Wednesday afternoon.

The train came to a stop across Ohio 7, blocking traffic in both directions.

“I’ve got several drivers out that can’t get in,” Beall said.

Dispatchers with the patrol reported the road was reopened around 2 p.m.