Clay Slipis, dispatcher of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, said that two vehicles were on the Highway M overpass about 2:30 a.m. when a Union Pacific train t-boned a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train at a rail intersection near Route M and County Road 210. The Union Pacific cars derailed, colliding with an overpass pillar and causing the two sections supporting the Highway M overpass to collapse, said railroad officials.
Clay Slipis said that a total of five people were in the two vehicles and were taken to Saint Francis Medical Center in Gape Girardeau. Also taken to Saint Francis Medical Center were the Union Pacific conductor and engineer. Six of the injured were released later and the seventh was in good condition.
Rockview is about 120 miles southeast of St. Louis, between Scott City and Chaffee. Slipis said Highway M is between the two towns, an eight mile stretch, and remains shut down.
Burlington Northern spokesman, Andy Williams, said the 75-car BNSF train, which was carrying scrap metal, was hit by the Union Pacific train about eight cars back from the locomotive and twelve cars on the BNSF train derailed.
Union Pacific spokesman, Calli Hite, said the 60-car UP train was carrying mainly automobiles and auto parts from Illinois to Texas. She said about a dozen UP rail cars derailed and the safety board will determine what caused the collision.
The crash derailed about two dozen rail cars hauling scrap metal, automobiles, and auto parts.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the scene later that afternoon. NTSB board member, Robert Sumwalt, said that the Missouri Bridge was rated “good” after it was last inspected in February.
At a news briefing, Robert Sumwalt, said the NTSB investigation will include routine testing of railroad employees for drugs and alcohol, testing the track and nearby rail signals and reviewing video footage from the front of the train in an effort to determine the likely cause. The NTSB will also review the bridge’s design.
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