Man injured in train wreck
By By Paul Keane
A Monroeville man was critically injured Wednesday afternoon when his vehicle was struck by a train in downtown Atmore.
The victim, 60-year-old Hudson Scott, Jr., of Monroeville, was reported to be in critical condition after he was Life Flighted to USA Medical Center in Mobile Wednesday afternoon. His Ford LTD was struck in the back driver's side fender by the train heading south at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Once his vehicle was struck by the train, it hit a pole containing the mechanisms controlling the safety gates used at the crossing on Main Street. Traffic was delayed and diverted around the area much of Wednesday afternoon.
"Apparently, his car got caught on the tracks," said Atmore Director of Public Safety Glenn Carlee. "There was a car in front of him and other vehicles had pulled up behind him when the gates started going down for the train to come through.
"The train went into emergency stop apparently before reaching the depot station, but there wasn't enough distance to stop before striking the vehicle."
Carlee said investigators are attempting to find the driver of the vehicle in front of Scott's car, in the hopes that more light can be shed on the situation.
"When the gates come down, the traffic light there for southbound traffic turns green," Carlee said. "That gives vehicles enough time to clear that intersection so that accidents like this don't happen. The traffic light for northbound traffic also turns red at that time.
"We're not really sure at this time why the vehicle in front of the car on the tracks did not proceed forward when the gates went down. That is what we are trying to determine at this time."
Carlee said he also wasn't sure why Scott did not drive his car off the tracks or simply get out of his vehicle when he saw the train approaching, and that further investigation into those matters are being conducted.
Either way, Carlee said that motorists should pay strict attention to the railroad crossings and the safety gates.
"One year, we had 26 injuries in the city involving trains and train tracks," he said. "When the safety gates were installed, that number decreased dramatically."
Carlee also warns motorists that attempting to drive around safety gates is illegal and carries a $123 fine with it for those caught doing such a maneuver.