Two Die in Ohio Train Collision
Jan. 18, 1999
NAPOLEON, Ohio (AP) _ Three freight trains crashed into each other early Sunday, killing two crew members and derailing cars over a quarter-mile of tracks near Bryan.
One engine burned for hours and the wreckage blocked a main railroad route between the East and Chicago. A handful of homes in Bryan, about 50 miles west of Toledo, were evacuated for several hours.
Fog limited visibility during the 2 a.m. crash, Jay Kivowitz, investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference in the nearby town of Napoleon. He said it was too early to determine a cause.
Dozens of freight cars and pieces of broken train parts were scattered across the two tracks that run parallel through the flat farmland of northwest Ohio.
R.H. Bell, 57, of Oregon, Ohio, and R.A. Corell, 52, of Angola, Ind., were killed in the accident. Both were thrown from the engine and died of head injuries, said Coroner John Moats.
A train taking mail from Morrisville, Pa., to Chicago hit another westbound train carrying trailers and containers from Boston to Chicago, said Bim McGeehan, a spokesman for Philadelphia-based Conrail. The victims were on the mail train.
A third train, with 50 empty cars, hit debris from the crash. The train was traveling east from Portage, Ind., to River Rouge, Mich., near Detroit, McGeehan said.
Sixteen cars from the three trains derailed in the accident.
McGeehan said track, computer and electronic signals are supposed to keep trains from getting too close to each other. He said he did not know how fast the trains were going when they hit each other.
Train traffic was being rerouted through a line in Michigan until debris can be cleared and the track repaired, McGeehan said.