Two Pa. men injured when train hits truck

Crossing on private road near Route 30 unmarked

January 10, 2001|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Two Pennsylvania men were injured - one of them critically - when a CSX train slammed into their pickup truck at an icy rail crossing on a private road north of Reisterstown yesterday morning.

The train - made up of four locomotives headed from Hanover, Pa., to Baltimore - hit the truck broadside at 10:57 a.m., police said, and dragged it south about 30 feet to an embankment along Route 30.

The truck's driver, Joshua Freeburn, 24, of the first block of Coffeytown Road in Dillsburg, Pa., was trapped in the vehicle and freed by Baltimore County firefighters, said Cpl. Vickie Ware- hime, county police spokeswoman.

Freeburn was in critical condition at Maryland Shock Trauma Center last night.

The passenger, Jason Weaver, 21, of the first block of Shady Lane in Hanover, was thrown from the truck by the force of the crash, said Warehime. He was treated for unspecified injuries at Sinai Hospital and released last night, said a nursing supervisor.

The two men were headed to the site of a 30,000-square-foot horse arena they were building on a farm about a quarter-mile east of Route 30, said Scott Sutter, manager of the 134-acre farm.

"I feel terrible. I'm in shock," he said at the accident site about an hour after the crash.

Sutter said he did not see the crash but heard the train blow its horn, then saw ambulances arrive shortly afterward.

The men were riding in a beige 1989 Chevrolet pickup inscribed with the name of their employer, TAM Systems Inc., a Dillsburg, Pa., company that specializes in farm construction.

The owner of the company did not return a telephone call yesterday.

The accident occurred at a crossing on a private road that is not marked with lights or gates. The crossing is a few feet east of Route 30, also known as Hanover Pike, and across from the Maryland National Guard's Camp Fretterd.

Robert L. Gould, a spokesman for CSX Corp., said it is the road owner's responsibility to install warnings. "The railroads don't have anything to do with warning devices," he said.

Sutter and other workers at the horse farm said they did not see how fast the train was going but that trains generally travel slowly through the area. A CSX official said the speed limit along that section of track is 30 mph.

Warehime said police do not know what caused the accident. The investigation is continuing.

"We don't know if it was an error in judgment" or the result of icy road conditions, she said.

Gould said CSX also is investigating the accident but that "nothing appeared to be wrong" with the train. The two crew members aboard were not injured.

When a vehicle appears on the tracks, "there's not much a locomotive engineer can do but sound the horn and put on the emergency brake," he said. "The engineers are the silent victims, and they see it happen and they're helpless."

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