Truck-train crash remains under investigation

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Carrollton village firefighters check for the source of smoke coming from a Wheeling & Lake Erie engine involved in a crash with a Stallion Oilfield Services truck on SR 171 June 27. The train engineer and conductor (shown wearing safety vests, standing besidie the guardrail), who were not injured in the crash, talked with firefighters at the scene. The driver of the truck was flown by helicopeter to a Pittsburgh hospital.

By Carol McIntire

Editor

SR 171 between SR 43 and SR 9 was closed four days last week to clean up damage from a train – truck wreck that occurred June 27. 

Sgt. Gary Wolfe of the New Philadelphia Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said the investigation continues in the wreck, which occurred about 3 p.m. 

“The biggest piece of the puzzle has not been solved as I have not been able to interview the driver of the truck, who was flown to Pittsburgh UPMC hospital with burn injuries,” Wolfe told The Messenger June 29.

The driver, Darrin Anguish, 54, of Minerva, was found outside the vehicle in a creek by the train engineer and conductor. “The question is, was he was thrown from the vehicle into the creek or did he escape from the burning truck and jump into the creek because of his injuries?”

The creek runs along the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway tracks that cross SR 171 at mile marker 9. “Yield” signs are posted on both sides of the tracks, but there are no flashing lights or crossing gates at the intersection. 

According to Wolfe, there is good visibility at the tracks and no curves.

Wolfe said the train was traveling north at about 10 miles per hour, returning to the yard in Canton with 42 empty freight cars after making a delivery in Carrollton. There were three engines pulling the train. 

“There is a process train engineers must go through as they approach a crossing, which includes blowing the air horns at least 250 feet before reaching the crossing,” Wolfe explained. The engineer met that requirement.”

Anguish was traveling east on SR 171 in a tri-axle truck hauling clean (potable) water to a camp, according to Wolfe. He failed to yield to the train at the tracks. The left front end of the truck was struck by the right front of the first engine. The impact essentially tore the front end off the truck, including the tires, wheels and axles and dragged the truck off the right side of the highway.

“Trains are so strong, even at 10 miles per hour, it just tore the front off the truck,” Wolfe noted, adding the impact derailed the first engine in which the engineer and conductor were both riding. The engine went off the left side of the track and down an embankment, causing severe damage to the tracks. Neither were injured.

The impact punctured the fuel tank on the left side of the truck and fuel spilled, which ignited and resulted in a fire.

The truck is owned by Stallion Oilfield Services, based in Houston, TX, and operates a local facility near Minerva. 

Anguish was airlifted from a field just off SR 43 north of SR 171 to the Pittsburgh hospital. 

Carrollton Village Fire Department responded quickly to put out the fire and Fox Township VFD set up the landing zone for life flight. Sheriff deputies and EMA personnel assisted at the scene. 

SR 171 was reopened to traffic Friday morning, July 1. 

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