The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

October 12, 2013

One dead after truck and train collide

Two dozen injured in accident during fall foliage season in state’s mountains

CHARLESTON — A logging truck collided Friday with a train carrying passengers on a scenic tour in peak fall foliage season in the West Virginia mountains, killing one person and injuring 24 people Friday, authorities said.

Two of the rail cars turned on their sides and logs lay spilled about.

A preliminary toll of more than 60 hurt initially reported by authorities was subsequently revised downward by a hospital official, Tracy Fath. She told The Associated Press on Friday evening that dozens who had been brought to a hospital by a school bus — with what one official initially described as lesser injuries — were subsequently determined to be unhurt.

“We’ve got 24 people who were treated” in the emergency room, Fath told AP by telephone from Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins. She added that of the 24 treated, three were admitted to the hospital, two in serious condition and one stable.

As for those brought in on the bus, they were given “comfort care” and released, Fath said. She said she couldn’t release more details on the extent of the injuries or the identities of those hurt. The worst injuries were brought in by ambulance.

The cause of the accident between the truck and the Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad train on an excursion at the height of autumn leaf-watching season in the state’s eastern Appalachian region wasn’t immediately known.

Two rail passenger cars overturned in the accident at 1:30 p.m. Friday along U.S. Route 250 about 160 miles east of Charleston at Cheat Mountain, said emergency services director Shawn Dunbrack of Pocahontas County.

News photographs showed a chaotic early scene of first-responders aiding the injured beside two rail cars turned on their sides next to the tracks at a crossing on the highway. Huge logs lay in a jumbled pile beside the overturned cars as firefighters with water hoses stood nearby. Emergency vehicles lined the shoulders against a backdrop of forest with brilliant red and yellow foliage.

Randolph County emergency services director Jim Wise said he confirmed one fatality and at least three people badly injured.  But he said he didn’t know any more about who had died or where that person was at the time of the accident.

“It was a pretty good impact,” Wise told AP. “The tracks actually go across U.S. 250 there, right on top of the mountain.”

He said he knew of no other accident in recent memory at the crossing.

Wise had said initially that 21 people were taken to a hospital in Elkins by ambulances and that dozens of others were transported there by bus with lesser injuries — an early toll in the chaotic aftermath later revised downward by the hospital.

Dunbrack said the train involved was operated by the Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad.

The railroad operates several trains in the area, including the Cheat Mountain Salamander that runs Tuesdays through Saturdays in October on a 6.5-hour trip. The railroad said there were three passenger cars Friday on the 88-mile roundtrip that left Elkins on a route taking passengers to elevations of more than 4,000 feet.

The train travels about 25 mph alongside a boulder-strewn river, crossing a bridge barely wider than the train, rumbling through an 1,800-foot tunnel and then passing an abandoned rail bridge.

The overturned passenger cars lay beside the tracks, roped off with yellow crime scene tape as police and others looked on.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved and the emergency responders working the tragic accident in Randolph County this afternoon,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement.     

Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin said state Department of Environmental Protection crews were sent to the site to help clean up a large fuel spill. Neither Goodwin nor Wise knew whether the spill came from the truck or the train.

Route 250 over Cheat Mountain was closed indefinitely.

The driver of the logging truck wasn’t immediately identified.

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Symptoms match with spilled chemical

    For two weeks following a January chemical spill into the public water supply, hundreds of West Virginians examined in emergency rooms had ailments consistent with exposure to the chemical, health officials said Wednesday.
    Federal toxic substance experts and the state Bureau for Public Health stopped short of saying that their analysis determined without a doubt that patients’ problems stemmed from chemical contact.

    April 24, 2014

  • West Virginia chemical safe level following spill based on two weeks

    When federal officials decided what chemical levels West Virginians could safely consume in water tainted by a January spill, their standard assumed people would be exposed for two weeks, not 100-plus days.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some state Democrats flip to GOP

    As Republicans rally for more control in West Virginia’s long-time Democratic Legislature, a few Democrats have jumped ship to the GOP and are challenging former colleagues in midterm races.
    Republicans face their biggest election opportunity in decades in the House of Delegates, where a four-seat swing would put them in power for the first time in 85 years.

    April 20, 2014

  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads