March 18, 2018
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Truck driver not likely to face charges following train collision at Verso paper mill in Bucksport

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

BUCKSPORT, Maine – An unidentified truck driver will likely not face charges after his tanker collided with a slow-moving freight train at the Verso Paper Corp. mill, officials said Sunday.

The driver, whom police declined to identify, was traveling on private property, where motor vehicle laws are not typically enforceable, when his truck crossed the tracks in front of the train at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Bucksport police officer Steve Bishop said.

“There’s nothing that appears criminal or negligent” in the accident at this point, Bishop said.

None of the parties involved — Verso Paper, the driver’s company or Pan Am Railways — seem likely to file a complaint, Bishop added.

The driver suffered minor injuries. The H.O. Bouchard tanker was taking several thousand gallons of clay slurry from Searsport into the plant at the plant’s north gate entrance as the Pan Am train was apparently pulling away. The train pushed the tanker into a stub from an old utility pole and rolled over, Verso spokesman Bill Cohen said.

A hazardous materials team from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection supervised the cleanup, which took several hours. The driver was taken to a nearby hospital, as is required by Bouchard company regulations, Cohen said.

Witnesses said the driver walked toward the Bucksport ambulance as it arrived.

A long line of freight cars sat on either side of the accident. It was unclear how many cars were attached to the train when the accident occurred.

Cohen described the accident as the first of its kind he has dealt with in his more than 10 years with the company.


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