PLATTEVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – A freight train hit a semi truck early Wednesday morning in Weld County and 17 train cars and two Union Pacific engines derailed from the tracks. There were significant backups along Highway 85 and on Main Street through Platteville as a result.
Platteville Police Chief Carl Dwyer said they suspect the “the semi possibly attempted to beat the train” as it was crossing the tracks eastbound.
The driver of the Halliburton-owned tractor-trailer — a 2012 Kenworth — suffered only minor injuries. No other injuries were reported. According to a spokesperson for Halliburton, the semi was carrying a pump.
The Weld County Office of Emergency Management said some diesel fuel spilled at the scene and crews were working to clean it up.
“I heard the rumble and then I just turned and I saw the sparks just flying from the train from the wheels. And then just everything started shaking real bad. And all of a sudden I went to the window and saw the trains, the cars fall,” said witness Bobbie Molina.
Molina tells CBS4 she was at the kitchen table when the derailment started. What she saw is something she’s feared would happen one day.
“It was a matter of time,” Molina said. “These trains travel so fast, and as far as hearing a horn this morning, I definitely did not hear a horn.”
According to Union Pacific, event data recorders from the locomotive show the train crew “sounded the horn as it entered the crossing, per federal regulation,” a spokesperson said.
The railroad company and Halliburton both say they are working with local investigators.
Highway 85 was closed from Highway 66 to County Road 30 during the Wednesday morning rush hour and the closure was expected to last for many more hours. Drivers have been asked to avoid the area.
Officials with Union Pacific are at the crash scene.