1 killed when train-dump truck collide near Aberdeen

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Starkville man died Monday when his dump truck collided with a train in Monroe County, sending four railroad cars flying off the tracks and causing the truck to erupt in flames, authorities said.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Sgt. Tommy Coleman identified the fatality as Elmer Patton Norwood, 51, of Starkville. Monroe County Coroner Alan Gurley confirmed Norwood died at the scene, saying an autopsy would be performed.

The truck “blew up in flames,” Coleman said.

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There were no other reports of injuries.

Patton was hauling a load of asphalt in the 2007 Mack truck owned by Oktibbeha County when he collided with the train at the intersection of the Kansas City Southern Railroad and Mississippi 8, Coleman and Gurley said. Another Oktibbeha County truck was following Norwood’s, but was able to avoid the train and Norwood’s vehicle by running into a ditch. The driver of that truck was not hurt.

The highway was closed to traffic at the railroad crossing in the town of Gibson, about five miles west of Aberdeen, as crews tried to clean up the mess.

The train’s crew was not seriously hurt, said C. Doniele Kane, a KCS spokeswoman.

“As a result of the collision, two locomotives and four empty rail cars derailed,” Kane said. “The incident is under investigation.”

The derailment posed no immediate threat to area residents, said Kim Sloan, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

“I do not know what type of freight was on board, but at this time I’ve been advised there were no hazardous materials,” Sloan said, adding that a hazardous material crew was on the scene.

Mississippi 8 was closed from the Highway 45 Alternate to Old Magnolia Road for several hours, Coleman said.

At least one other man has died when a vehicle collided with a train in Mississippi this year. Wesley Ware, 53, of Lambert was killed in April after an Amtrack passenger train slammed into the trailer he was hauling. Authorities said Ware was thrown about 75 feet from the vehicle in the accident near Yazoo City. None of the 250 passengers and 10 crew members on that train were hurt.