By ROBERT S. MERRILL
A cleanup process of a train derailment in Dayton that happened on Wednesday, Jan. 9, is on-going and it will continue during for the next few days.
“We do not know how long the process will take to complete, but it is likely to last for some time,” said Aaron Hunt, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad.
A northbound Union Pacific train derailed west of Preston at approximately 10 a.m. Wednesday morning and a fatality occurred, according to Idaho State Police, who is still investigating the accident.
The driver of the dump truck has been identified as Heber Lewis, 56, of Preston. The crossing is equipped with flashing red lights that were functioning properly at the time of the accident, said ISP officials.
According to an ISP press release, a Franklin County dump truck was headed eastbound on State Highway 36. There was thick fog in the area. The truck struck the side of the train that was already in the railroad crossing near milepost 127. Multiple cars at the rear of the train were derailed and the tracks were damaged in the crash, according to the release.
Lewis succumbed to his injuries at the scene.
Immediately following the accident, local law enforcement officials closed State Highway 36 in both directions at the railroad crossing at approximately 4025 West Side Highway 36. The road remained closed on Friday.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the driver of the truck. An incident like this one can have a severe impact on Union Pacific train crews and, by extension, the entire Union Pacific family.
“We remind all motorists to use caution whenever they are around railroad property,” said Hunt.
Eyewitnesses living adjacent to the railroad tracks said the train was traveling northbound and conditions were foggy at the time of the accident.
“We heard the train sound it’s horn as it approached the crossing and a few seconds later heard a terrible grinding, crunching sound,” said Nicole and Chris Merrill, collectively. “We immediately knew something terrible had happened. We then called 911 to report the accident to the Franklin County Sheriff’s dispatcher.”
Sheriff’s deputies, Franklin County Fire officials, ambulance personnel and Idaho State Police were on scene shortly after. More information will be posted on The Citizen’s Web page as soon as it becomes available.
Watch The Citizen’s Web page for video of the derailment.
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