A 66-year-old truck driver died after a freight train struck his semi Wednesday just outside of Plymouth.
Ronald Slagg of Yakima was driving a truck with an empty trailer on a private road about five miles west of Interstate 82, said the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
The train was traveling to Portland when it collided with the semi at a private crossing at 2:28 p.m., said BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas.
The crossing was marked, and the train was using its whistle as it approached, he said. The crew tried to stop.
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The impact demolished the truck’s cab, cutting the semi into three large pieces.
Slagg was flown to Kadlec Medical Center where he later died. A small fire started near the tracks and spread to the locomotive where BNSF employees extinguished it, Melonas said. Neither the train’s conductor nor the engineer were hurt.
Benton County firefighters put out the small fire that started in the brush near the collision.
The 53-car train was traveling from Chicago to Portland with a load of lighter fluid and acid, sheriff’s officials said. Nothing was damaged on the train, and nothing leaked.
BNSF crews were expecting to work until 7 p.m. clearing the wreckage and inspecting the locomotives and tracks, before the train could move, Melonas said.
Fifteen other trains were delayed because of the collision, he said. About 45 trains travel daily along the line.
Plymouth is along the Columbia River in southern Benton County about 30 miles from Kennewick.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the collision.