The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 1, 2014

Conneaut man survives crash with freight train

PAINESVILLE TOWNSHIP — A Conneaut motorist on Wednesday survived a collision with a fast-moving freight train that knocked his pickup truck dozens of feet into the air, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

John Blair, 33, escaped with minor injuries in the crash on Newell Street in Painesville Township, deputies said in a news release. He was treated and released at Tri Point Medical Campus, deputies said in a news release.

The incident occurred around 2:14 p.m. at a CSX Railway crossing, deputies said. The crossing consists of five sets of tracks, and a train was parked on the middle set, according to the release. Warning gates were lowered and lights were flashing at the crossing, deputies said.

Blair, driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck, apparently thought the warning devices were active because of the parked train, deputies said. He, along with other motorists, drove around the lowered gates — not seeing a westbound freight train approaching at 58 mph. The blocked train obscured Blair’s view of the oncoming train, which consisted of two engines pulling 19 cars, deputies said.

“Several of the motorists ahead of John Blair were able to clear the crossing successfully,” deputies wrote in the release. “(Blair) was not as fortunate and his Ford truck was struck on the driver’s side bed area.”

The impact knocked the truck into the air and rotated it 180 degrees, deputies said. The truck landed about 70 feet away.

Blair, who was wearing his seat belt, had to be cut out of the wreckage by Painesville firefighters, deputies said. He was late cited for “disregarding his duties at railroad crossings,” according to the statement.

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