The driver of a truck struck by a BNSF train Monday morning in Washougal was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in critical condition, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.
The deputy on duty said the driver was likely ejected from the vehicle.
BNSF Spokesman, Gus Melonas, said the accident happened at 6:18 am and that Camas-Washougal firefighters were dispatched at 6:23 am.
“The train was traveling westward through Washougal and the individual ran into the side of the lead locomotive,” Melonas. “The train didn’t derail. The train crew was not injured. The train can operate. The track was not damaged. Thirty-five trains use this main line daily.”
The truck, driven by a man described in his mid-50s, was struck on the train tracks on Whitney Street, just south of James Street, in Washougal. Melonas said the vehicle was pushed about 75 feet down the tracks.
“Arriving units discovered a small truck was traveling southbound on Southeast Whitney Street when it (was involved in a crash) with a westbound (BNSF Railway) train,” said the Camas Police in a press release.
The identity of the victim hasn’t been identified.
Police and BNSF are investigating the cause but noted it appears that all of the safety equipment is properly working. Melonas said he knows the victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition, but does not have an update.
“We are investigating the scene,” said Melonas. “We have tapes and cameras on the locomotives. But we won’t know for many days. The train was hauling grain.”
Whitney Street opened up for through traffic at 9:30 am.
In 2018, there were six grade crossing fatalities in Washington state, and 18 trespass fatalities, according to the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. To learn more, visit: https://www.utc.wa.gov/publicSafety/railSafety/Pages/OLCrashStatistics.aspx
This story will be updated.