Aftermath of Fatal Logging Truck and Train Collision Still Shocking Community
Written by Phyllis Smith
Last updated on October 13, 2013 @ 6:47PM
Created on October 12, 2013 @ 7:45PM
A sightseeing tour in Randolph County turned deadly on Friday afternoon when a logging truck slammed into a train. The truck driver was killed and dozens of passengers were injured.
According to officials, the logging truck driver didn't brake before crossing the track, but they haven't said what exactly they think caused the collision.
Sheriff Mark Brady of the Randolph County Sheriff's Department said, "It appears that the log truck ran through the crossing signals and struck the passenger cars of the train. No braking was observed at the scene or noted."
Out of the 63 passengers and four crew members, there's one patient still at Davis Memorial Hospital. Another four are at Ruby Memorial Hospital. Family members confirmed to 5 News that Mark Phillip was one of those people in the accident.
When we spoke to health officials from Ruby, they confirmed there is a patient under that name, and he's listed in critical condition. Officials said there were dozens of other people on the train with minor injuries. Given the circumstances though, it could have been a lot worse.
Sheriff Brady said, "With that many passengers on a train and in such a remote area of the county with resources sparingly utilized at that location, I'm very surprised we didn't have more fatalities and more serious injuries."
Those who were in the area when the accident happened said the situation was definitely scary.
Judy Lemon, who was in the area when the crash happened, said, "We were coming up to the Upper Shaver's to camp, and we stopped in Huttonsville at the gas station. We heard all the sirens and everything and it kind of worried us. It's scary. You never know what's going to happen from one day to the next."
Emergency personnel from seven different counties untied together to manage the scene.
State trooper James Cornelius said, "It was stressful, but all the counties came together. There were state police and local police. We all went and responded. There were multiple fire departments."
Crews worked all night to get the two passenger trains upright again. Two men, Dave Wolski and his friend Mike King, were supposed to go on a scenic trail the day after the accident. They said it could have very easily been them on the train.
Wolski said, "It's scary in a way. You think, "Oh, I could have been on this train.' We were supposed to catch it right up here at the Cheat River station Saturday morning at noon. I feel bad for all the people that were on that train that got hurt and for the truck driver that lost his life."
The road leading to the accident, Route 250, has been cleared up. Officials are still investigating what led to the crash.
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