Cumberland Times-News

Local News

October 14, 2013

Truck inspected two days before it hit train

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A logging truck that collided with a sightseeing train in West Virginia was inspected about two days prior to the accident and no problems were found, a state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman said Monday.

The inspection by a state Public Service Commission inspector included a visual check of the truck’s brakes, department spokesman Lawrence Messina said.

He said that the cab was obliterated in the crash, which will make it difficult for investigators to reconstruct the brakes to determine whether they were a factor.

The Public Service Commission is investigating the accident because it involved a logging truck. The accident didn’t meet the National Transportation Safety Board’s criteria for investigating during the partial government shutdown, Messina said.

The truck’s driver, Danny Lee Kimble Sr. of Frank, was killed and 23 people were injured when the collision occurred along U.S. 250 atop Cheat Mountain, about 160 miles east of Charleston. Four people remained hospitalized as of Sunday night, Messina said.

The Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad’s Cheat Mountain Salamander train, carrying 63 passengers and four crew members, had embarked on a trip to observe fall foliage when the loaded log truck collided with it. Two passenger cars flipped on their sides.

Messina said that the impact of the collision sent logs flying through windows at the rear of the second car. That area of the car was being used for storage and no one was sitting there.

Metal crash posts on the cars, which form a reinforced box around them, likely prevented more injuries, he said.

The Durbin & Greenbrier 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 has 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.

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