The crisp fall air in the West Virginia mountains lures tourists every year to view the leaves that turn a gorgeous spectrum of colors. It was while on a fall foliage sightseeing trip in Randolph, West Virginia (WV) that a terrible train and truck accident occurred. Passengers looked on in horror as a logging truck came barreling towards their train. The accident left the driver of the logging truck dead and hurt 23 others when the train derailed. As a railroad accident attorney I know the type of life long injuries that can occur. We will have to wait for the final accident report to be released but there may be multiple reasons this crash occurred.
1. Driver or Truck Error:
Passengers said they saw the driver of the truck before impact and he was alert. This rules out a medical emergency that may have left the driver incapacitated. Investigators also stated there were no skid marks on the road. This could mean that the brakes went out on the truck which is possible considering the steep road grades in the West Virginian mountains. The driver also could have been distracted by a cell phone or other device and looked up at the last minute only to realize that he was at a railroad crossing.
Many serious personal injuries, or even deaths, occur at public railroad crossings throughout the country. At a private or rural crossing the vegetation, trees and brush may grow so that it is not possible to see if a train is crossing until the last minute this may have been the case in this accident.
3. Lack of Railroad Crossing Signals:
Passengers on the train said they saw that the electronically activated warning lights were working at the time of the crash. However there was no active gate which is the best protection for a railroad crossing.
Whatever the outcome of the investigation 23 people are still seriously injured. Many of these victims are tourists and from out of the area. They will have to file a personal injury case in West Virginia even if they do not live in the state. This may make it difficult for someone who is already injured and away from friends and family. Our railroad accident law firm has collected and indexed over 1,000 depositions in railroad and similar injury cases, hundreds of specific research files, as well as numerous railroad manuals and videos relating specifically to railroad safety and injury issues. We make all this available for free for victims researching railroad crossing and train derailment injuries.