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DETROIT, MI – A semi truck collided with a Norfolk Southern train in southwest Detroit, Michigan on May 14, 2010 at about 5:40 a.m. Four people were injured as a result of the incident. The train and semi truck accident occurred just west of Oakwood Heights in an industrial area of the city.

Twisted wreckage of train collision with semi truck in Detroit, Michigan that injured 4 people on Friday, May 14, 2010.

The crash occurred at the railway crossing on Mellon Street just east of Schaefer Highway. The site of the crash is about 7 miles southwest of downtown Detroit.

Detroit is located in southwest Michigan, about 158 miles east of Grand Rapids, about 91 miles east of Lansing, about 108 miles southeast of Saginaw and about 43 miles east of Ann Arbor. Wayne, Michigan, where the train originated from, is located about 13 miles west of the accident site.

The Norfolk Southern train was on its way from Wayne, Michigan travelling southbound on the tracks enroute to the Oakwood depot in Melvindale, MI. The train’s destination is just a short distance from the crash site. The semi truck was traveling westbound on Mellon Street towards Schaefer Highway when the train slammed into the big rig on the passenger side of the cab.

View of the tracks at the Mellon Street railroad crossing showing where the train came to rest behind the BP gas station and a tree on the east side of the tracks.

The force of the collision sent the semi truck about 200 ft down the tracks where it came to rest near a tree on the other side of the tracks just behind the BP gas station on Schaefer Highway. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries reported.

Investigators are trying to find out whether or not the warning lights at the crossing were working at the time or whether the semi truck driver was trying to beat the train.

The people that were injured in the crash were the semi truck driver and three other people connected to the railroad company. A conductor, engineer and a trainee were on board the train at the time of the mishap. The injured railroad workers all sustained bumps and bruises, and complained of back pain after the crash. After the accident they were all taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital for treatment. All are reported to be in stable condition.

Location of the train crash with the semi truck at the Mellon Street railroad crossing just east of Schaefer Highway in southwest Detroit, MI.

According to a source at the trucking company, the driver of the 18 wheeler was 59 year-old Asqari Veizag who has been driving for Alco since October, 2009. He sustained an injury to his forehead as a result of the crash. Veizag told his boss that he never saw any warning lights at the railroad crossing.

The conductor of the train was identified as 38 year-old Todd Williams, from Lincoln Park, MI. According to a news report from a local TV station, his wife, Noel Williams, said that he called her shortly after the mishap. Williams said that he was very shaken up by the accident and that his back was hurting. He said that they were on their normal route, and the next thing they knew, the truck came plowing right into him.

Sources with Norfolk Southern assert that the warning lights were working at the time of the incident and that the truck driver tried to beat the oncoming train. The railroad company says that it plans to run some diagnostic tests that will help confirm whether the warning lights were flashing at the time.

There was also a data recorder on the train which will reveal how fast the train was going at the time of the collision in addition to several other details of the event.

The nose of the Norfolk Southern engine shown listing over on its right side and the mangled cab and trailer from the Alco Transportaion company semi truck. The train came to a rest near a tree behind the BP gas station on Schaefer Highway.

The 18 wheeler belongs to Alco Transportation, which is based out of Detroit. The driver was taking a load of steel coils to Lansing. Alco Transportation is a trucking company that transports steel across the midwest.

Norfolk Southern, which operates roughly 21,000 routes in 22 states said that the train was hauling a load of new automobiles from Wayne, Michigan to its destination at the Oakwood depot in Melvindale.

It looks like the semi was hit on the passenger side, so the truck driver was able to get out on the driver’s side door of the cab.

Schaefer Highway, which is in the industrial area surrounding the accident site, remained open after the incident, but Mellon Street was closed for much of the day while crews worked to clean up the crash.

Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP, is a top nationwide FELA lawyer firm representing railroad workers injured on the job who need experienced attorneys knowledgeable in the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). For expert advice and FELA help, call 800.773.6770.

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