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
ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Is it too early to start a vegetable garden?
Considering our winter temperatures this year, that’s a good question. When it comes to a successful vegetable garden, timing is everything. The goal in Texas is to have most of your vegetable crops mature before the temperatures soar in mid-summer.
EXTENSION NEWS: Getting more zzzs could help you lose some lbs.
We spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping. Sleep is important for learning and memory. Sleep also helps our immune system to resist illness and disease, increases response times in emergencies, improves our mood and feelings of wellness and gives us the energy we need to be more active and alert.
VETERANS’ CORNER: Soldiers, families warned about latest Internet scam
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command is warning about a new website scam in which criminals are attempting to take advantage of soldiers and their families.
Count of area homeless youth begins Monday
ACH Child and Family Services, Tarrant County Homeless Coalition, Crossroads Youth Ministries of Parker County and University of Texas-Arlington are conducting the first ever youth count in Tarrant and Parker counties for unaccompanied youth, ages 13-24, in unstable living arrangements (i.e., shelters, streets, couch surfing).
CASA seeks 100 new advocates to represent children in CPS care
In Spanish, casa means home, but for thousands of abused and neglected children, it’s an acronym that has even more meaning – it’s the hope of finally finding a safe, permanent home where they can thrive.
Spivack to speak at PCRW event
Parker County Republican Women will have Loren Spivack as the March 13 luncheon meeting guest speaker.
State education board candidates in runoff
Tuesday’s voting tallies signified an extremely tight race for State Board of Education District 11 candidates in the Republican primary.
Renfro in runoff for job he didn’t want
Precinct 4 Commissioner Dusty Renfro, who unexpectedly scored 1,213 votes in Tuesday’s Republican Primary while campaigning for an opponent, is still trying to lose his job on the Parker County Commissioners’ Court.
Area council, school board filings
Filings for school board and city council elections in May ended last Friday. Here are the filings for area city council seats open in May:
ALEDO – Patricia Weckel, 60, died Tuesday, March 4, 2014, surrounded by family at her home in Aledo.
- More Aledo ExtrA Headlines
- ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Is it too early to start a vegetable garden?