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TOPEKA, KS – A truck driver was injured Wednesday morning, October 6, when his semi trailer truck collided with a Union Pacific freight train in Shawnee County, Kansas. The truck accident occurred at an unmarked railroad crossing near Interstate 70 in Topeka, Kansas. The accident area is in the northeast corner of the state, about 66 miles west of Kansas City, Missouri and about 236 miles north of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

On Wednesday morning an unidentified truck driver was driving a semi trailer truck in Shawnee County, Kansas. At the time of the truck accident the tractor trailer was approaching the entrance of the Bettis Asphalt Company at 2350 N.W. Water Works Drive in Topeka. However, it is unclear if he was making a pick-up or delivery at the business.

The semi trailer truck had the logo of U.S Xpress Enterprises on its trailer, a truckload carrier company based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The truck accident happened shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning as the trucker drove the tractor trailer east on N.W. Water Works Drive just north of Interstate 70. The driver was steering the semi trailer through a northbound curve on an incline and over the unmarked railroad crossing that leads to the entrance of the Bettis Asphalt Company when the crash occurred.

As the semi trailer truck crossed over the rails it was hit by a Union Pacific freight train. The train was carrying multiple cars of stacked heavy storage containers. The impact of the truck accident crushed the cab of the semi and tore out the engine. The front section of the semi tractor turned to the right and the trailer was stopped from crossing over the tracks. Debris from the demolished cab section rained down in the area surrounding the railroad crossing.

The Union Pacific train was not derailed during the truck accident.

Topeka police and emergency personnel rushed to the site of the truck accident. Due to the appearance of the destroyed semi cab they expected that someone may have been seriously injured. However the truck driver was able to crawl out of his mangled cab and suffered moderate injuries. He was treated and stabilized at the scene and then transported to a local hospital.


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No one else was injured in the truck accident. The collision created a mess at the railroad crossing and officials were diverting traffic around the intersection. It is believed that Union Pacific Railroad authorities altered their train schedule to keep other trains out of the area while the various crews worked. The destroyed semi cab would have to be towed from the scene and the trailer section hitched to another cab and driven from the site.

The truck accident is being investigated by three agencies, the Topeka Police, Kansas State Highway Patrol, and the Union Pacific Railroad. They were planning to interview the driver of the tractor trailer and the engineer of the train. They have not released any other information at this time.

The site of Wednesday’s truck accident is the same location of several other collisions including a fatal incident involving a Shawnee County Public Works truck and a train on August 11, 2010. The truck driver was killed in that accident. Some officials believe that the incline leading to the crossing creates a blind spot for truckers and other drivers crossing the tracks. Due to this problem Union Pacific has instructed their train engineers to start blowing their warning whistles several miles before reaching the unmarked crossing. A Topeka Police captain stated that the train engineer blew his whistle multiple times Wednesday morning and they are not sure why the truck driver did not hear or heed the warnings.

No charges have been brought and the truck accident remains under investigation.

Gordon Elias & Seely, LLP recommend that if you know anyone who has been injured or killed as the result of a commercial truck accident involving a semi truck, 18 wheeler, big rig, tractor trailer or bus, tell them to immediately contact a qualified truck accident lawyer for advice. Often times the truck company and the truck driver will be from other states other than where the accident occurred. Truck accident attorneys often times have relationships with other experienced truck accident attorneys licensed in other states. Gordon, Elias & Seely LLP are licensed in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Washington, DC and have informal relationships with other truck accident lawyers. For more information, visit their page about KS truck accidents or call 800.773.6770.

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