By JUDY SHERIDAN
An elderly man, his wife and their dog escaped with their lives on Valentine’s Day evening when the Ford pickup they were driving broke down on the railroad tracks in Aledo, minutes before it was hit by an eastbound train.
The couple, who was returning to Amarillo and appeared to be in their 80s, according to Nick Walker of the Aledo Fire Department, scrabbled down the rocky railroad bed to safety when they heard the train coming, the woman breaking her finger and the man scraping his knee.
“They refused all medical treatment,” Walker said.
Trooper Lonny Haschel, a spokesman with the Department of Public Safety, said the driver of the truck, heading north on FM Road 1187, got stuck on the tracks when he turned right directly onto them, believing he was in a lane that veered to the right.
“He broke his drive shaft,” he said. “He got out of his truck, and the train came along and struck the truck with nobody in it.”
Haschel said DPS did not do a report because the incident took place on private property, the domain of the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
UPRR Corporate Relations and Media Director Raquel Espinoza confirmed that an eastbound train with two locomotives and 110 rail cars filled with mixed freight hit the back of an unoccupied pickup at 7:47 p.m. Feb. 14.
The crossing at FM 1187 is marked with crossing signs and equipped with lights and gates, she noted, adding that the report shows the driver drove more than 110 feet down the tracks before stopping.
Espinoza said the investigation is ongoing.
Morris Leondar, of the Aledo Fire Department, said the pickup was on the track “a minute or so” before the couple heard the train coming and bailed.
“It was about as close as you get I guess,” he said. “The train smashed in the truck bed and knocked the truck off the tracks.”
Eastbound trains travel uphill, so they don’t travel as fast as their westbound counterparts, Leondar said, a factor that worked in the couple’s favor.
He said the incident caused a traffic backup that lasted about two hours.
Aledo city administrator Ken Pfeifer said the signs and multiple barrels marking the newly-opened one-way couplet, which includes the crossing, were not factors in the accident.
“The reports from those on site (the emergency personnel and engineer) indicated the elderly couple turned directly onto the railroad track,” he emailed.
By JUDY SHERIDAN
- Aledo ExtrA
Plans move forward for new judge
The new judge for Parker County Court at Law No. 2 will be chosen by voters in November, but plans are underway now to determine who will appear on the ballot.
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Aledo ISD has announced a restructuring of the athletic department for the 2014 school year. At his request, Coach Tim Buchanan will become the fulltime athletic director so he may focus on the entire athletic program of the district as it continues to grow.
Water park burglar sought
Hudson Oaks police are requesting the public’s assistance in catching a burglar who broke into Splash Kingdom Water Park in Hudson Oaks earlier this month.
Commissioner at odds with school district's demand for land
Aledo ISD superintendent Derek Citty is moving forward with plans backed by the school board in May — plans to secure two school sites in the Morningstar subdivision, slated for the corner of Old Weatherford Road and FM Road 3225 in the City of Fort Worth’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
An unforgettable state championship
Corey Kiser and Riley Sartain, members of Aledo High School’s state champion softball team, honored by trustees last week, are to blame for the 10-3 tattoo on the finger of their coach, Jeff Lemons.
Firefighter arrested for child sexual assault
A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period.
Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested July 21, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.
Fire protection improving in Aledo
Stephen Watson, interim chief of Emergency Services District No. 1, briefed the Aledo City Council on improvements to the city’s fire protection — including the purchase of a site for a new fire station — in Thursday night’s Aledo City Council session.
Aledo ISD trustees affirm hiring policy
The Aledo ISD School Board affirmed a policy delegating the hiring of most school personnel to the administration by a 4-1 margin last week, with trustees Jay Stringer, David Tillman, Hoyt Harris and Steve Bartley voting in favor and trustee Bobby Rigues arguing that the board should retain the responsibility.
Aledo coffee shop helps support the troops
HUDSON OAKS — Wild West Splash Kingdom was the host of military members and military supporters the night of Saturday, July 19, during ‘Salute the Troops,’ sponsored by Holy Grounds Coffee and Gifts in Aledo and Ducerus College Planning.
Calendar of events
Holy Grounds Coffee & Gifts, at 108 Jearl Street, is hosting a series of outdoor movies in their parking lot at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 23.
Admission is free and feature drinks are half price during the films. “The Amazing Spiderman” is Aug. 2, followed by “Tangled” on Aug. 9, “The Lego Movie” on Aug. 16 and “The Avengers” on Aug. 23.
For more information, call 817-440-7770.
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