FROM STAFF REPORTS
NEW BRAUNFELS — An 18-wheeler driver escaped with non-life threatening injuries Friday afternoon after he unsuccessfully attempted to beat an oncoming freight train while crossing Union Pacific tracks at Krueger Canyon Road.
At about 3:30 p.m. Oct. 17, the tractor-trailer was struck on its passenger side by a southbound Union Pacific train, said New Braunfels police Cpl. Greg Walker. The impact knocked the truck and its dump trailer off the tracks and into a dry drainage channel running alongside the road.
An air ambulance was initially put on standby but was canceled when the driver was found to have suffered only minor injuries. It was not immediately clear if the driver was taken to a hospital or treated at the scene; police have not yet released the injured man’s name.
The collision caused structural damage to the tracks and roadway, Walker said, but he did not know the extent of the damage Friday evening.
The crossing is a half-mile south of a major rail yard at Cemex USA’s Balcones Quarry and Cement Plant. Marked only by a stop sign, the crossing is not equipped with barricade arms or warning signals.
Between January 2004 and July 2014, 16 people in Comal County were injured in “highway-rail incidents,” the term used by the Federal Railroad Administration for a collision between a train and an automobile or pedestrian at a street-level crossing.
During the same ten-year period, 20 people were killed and 75 people in highway-rail incidents at crossings in six counties that form the Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio, including Comal and Hays counties. Besides deaths caused at road crossings, four people have been killed and 98 injured in other railroad-related accidents and incidents in the region since January 2004, Federal Railroad Administration records state.
Union Pacific, which owns 6,336 miles of track in Texas, has reported 125 derailments in Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Comal and Bexar counties in the last decade, Federal Railroad Administration records state.