WEST BATH, Maine — Two West Bath residents escaped serious injury after their pickup truck was struck by a Maine Eastern Railroad freight train as it crossed Sanford Crossing Road at approximately 10:15 a.m. Friday.
Neither the driver of the 2008 Ford F-150 pickup truck, Daniel Wallace, 36, of West Bath, nor his 2-year-old daughter — who was in a child safety seat in the backseat — were injured in the crash.
According to Sgt. Dale Hamilton of the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, whether Wallace stopped at the tracks, as indicated by a yellow sign, is in dispute. But Hamilton said, “He then pulled into the path of the Maine Eastern Railroad locomotive.”
Hamilton said the operator of the train, which included the engine and two empty cars, did sound the train’s horn.
The train was traveling at approximately 25 mph, according to West Bath Fire Chief Greg Payson.
Wallace told the Bangor Daily News at the scene that he stopped at the stop sign, but because the sign is so far from the tracks, he had to pull forward to look for the train, and never heard a horn.
The right front quarter of the engine struck the left front quarter of the truck, totaling the pickup and causing approximately $2,000 in damage to the train, according to Hamilton.
Hamilton said he believes that the operator of the locomotive, Michael Moore, 46, of Jefferson, followed all safety protocols, and noted that “the visibility is pretty good there.”
Neither Moore nor the engineer, 38-year-old Andrew Blanchard of Cushing, were injured.
Wallace was issued a civil summons for failure to obey a railroad warning device.
“The driver and his daughter were very, very lucky,” Hamilton said. “It could have been much worse.”