No charges filed after train wreck

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 14, 2005

An Alabama State Troopers investigation of Thursday’s accident on Marengo County Road 47 involving a truck hauling heavy equipment and a train ended some time after dark Thursday night. Alabama State Trooper W.C. Smith, who responded to the call and conducted the investigation, said things were pretty cut and dry following his search of the scene.

“Basically what happened was the driver just failed to yield for the stop signal,” Smith said. “It is as simple as that.”

Smith said no charges would be filed and the investigation was over.

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“It was just a basic accident,” Smith said. “There were no charges or anything like that.”

The accident occurred at approximately 3:40 p.m. when a 2000 Ford South Marengo County Water Authority truck, driven by Shannon Stockman of Pine Hill, collided with a G.M. train driven by Richard Johnson, also of Pine Hill.

To see the tangled mess the accident left it would have been impossible to imagine there were no injuries. However, all drivers and passengers left the scene without serious injuries. Smith said everyone involved was very fortunate to have walked away.

“There were no injuries,” Smith said. “They were very lucky there. It could have been a much worse situation than it was.”

The crash left debris scattered in several different directions. The impact was so great the truck; backhoe and trailer ended their spiral in separate locations.

The truck, which was traveling southbound, was thrown into the ditch to the right of the railroad crossing. The backhoe was jarred from its trailer and thrown several yards in another direction in the yard of an Octagon home. The trailer itself was pushed some 100 yards down the tracks where it rested against the train engine in a crumpled heap.

Smith said Marengo County Rescue workers remained on the scene well into the night to remove the debris and get as much cleanup done as they could.

“I left the accident after dark and the Marengo Rescue squad took over,” Smith said. “I am pretty sure it took them a while to move the trailer off the tracks and get everything cleaned up.”

The Marengo County Rescue Squad, Marengo County Sheriff’s Deputies and Alabama State Troopers all responded to the scene.

Smith added this was an accident that never should have happened. The truck simply did not see the sign or hear the train and the collision was the end result. Many locals on the scene said they have seen people ignore the stop sign countless times. They hoped this would be a wake up call for drivers who try to beat the train.