Two people were injured yesterday when a train smashed into a pickup truck, sending the vehicle careening into a power transformer at a railroad crossing in Carroll County, authorities said.
The truck was northbound on Route 94, north of the border between Carroll and Howard counties in the Woodbine area, when it was struck by a CSX freight train about 10 a.m., state police said. The driver of the Ford F-250 apparently stopped for the flashing red signal at the crossing but then accelerated into the path of the westbound train, said Cpl. William Dashiells.
The driver, Coy Edward Lanning, 21, and a passenger, Pamela Lynn Seymer, 20, both of Mount Airy, were flown by state police helicopter to Washington County Health Systems in Hagerstown, where Lanning was treated and released and Seymer was admitted. Information about Seymer's condition was unavailable yesterday.
Richard Graves, 36, a carpet installer from Woodbine, said he was in his car, waiting at the crossing in the southbound lane, when the accident occurred.
"I was looking right at their faces," he said, adding that they looked "like they couldn't believe it was happening. The woman was saying, 'Oh my God!'"
The front of the train struck the vehicle in the front passenger side, spinning it and catapulting it into the air for a short distance before the truck smashed into a transformer that powers the crossing signal, police said. After about 20 minutes, rescue workers freed the victims in the truck, said Ron Legore, first assistant chief of the Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department.
Authorities said the train, more than 4,000 feet long and with 51 cars, was traveling west at about 30 mph when it struck the truck. Although no gate is at the crossing, police said witnesses told them that the signal was working properly and that the engineer blew the train's horn while approaching the crossing.
Police said they had no reason to believe that the engineer, Bernie Patrick Beavers of Cumberland, did anything wrong. A CSX investigator at the scene declined to comment.
The road was closed for about an hour while the train was inspected and deemed safe to continue its journey.
Police said the crossing has no history of problems.