Traffic backed up after train collides with car in Grand Saline

Published on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 19:52 - Written by BY KENNETH DEAN kdean@tylerpaper.com

A 24-year-old driver thinking he could beat a freight train by disregarding the railroad crossing arms was hit by a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil, authorities said.

Grand Saline Assistant Chief of Police Leslie Lehmann said the accident happened on Houston Street about two blocks south of U.S. Highway 80 and caused a major traffic snarl in the town shortly after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

"We're lucky this was not much worse and thankfully no one was injured," she said.

Ms. Lehmann said the driver was being cited for disregarding the railroad crossing arms, but she did not know if he would face charges from the railroad inspectors working jointly with her agency on the accident. 

“He decided he could beat the train but didn’t make it. That is never a good idea,” she said.

Ms. Lehmann said the driver and an unidentified female were taken to a local hospital to be checked out, but neither suffered any injuries. 

"We just wanted to be on the safe side so that is why we had them checked out," she said.

For three hours the accident had motorists using crossings east and west of town, because the train blocked both crossings in town. 

Mark Davis, Union Pacific spokesman, said the train was bound from St. James, La., to Oklahoma with 99 rail cars with two carrying crude oil. However, no cars derailed or spillage occurred.

Staff Writer Faith Harper contributed to this report.