CHESTER — A 21-year-old man injured after he crashed a pickup truck into the back of a service train in Chester County on Thursday morning was treated and released from a Charlotte hospital, officials say.
The Leeds and West Chester volunteer fire departments, along with the county’s emergency responders, were called to the accident about 6:15 a.m., said Ben Grant with the Chester County Emergency Management Office.
Officials say the man drove a Ford service truck, capable of traveling on both highways and railroad tracks, behind the train when he either fell asleep or fell unconscious and rammed the truck into the back of the train cars, said Eddie Murphy, emergency management director.
The man was not trapped inside the truck, Murphy said. He was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. His name was not released.
The pickup truck suffered significant damage. Authorities stopped operations on the railroad for about two hours until they could finish cleaning up, Murphy said.
The train belongs to Loram, a railroad maintenance company contracted to make repairs on the CSX tracks that run through Chester County.
Jim Perkins, vice president for Loram, said the driver, whose name he would not disclose, had been working at the company for about nine months. He called these accidents uncommon.
“The speed at which he hit was uncommon. It was quite fast, and it’s our belief that he fell asleep,” Perkins said. “From my understanding, the airbags were deployed in the vehicle he was driving.”
The truck was a water truck, equipped to douse fires should they erupt while a service train is performing maintenance on the tracks.