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Driver Hospitalized After Pickup Truck Hit By Train

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Riverdale train vs. truck crash

A freight train struck this pickup truck at a crossing at a CSX railyard in south suburban Riverdale on Dec. 17, 2010 (Credit: CBS)

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RIVERDALE, Ill. (CBS) – A pickup truck driver was hospitalized Friday morning after a freight train hit his truck at a railroad crossing in south suburban Riverdale.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports the crash could have been much worse.

It happened at the CSX freight yard at 135th and Perry in Riverdale at about 6:45 a.m.

Firefighters who pulled the driver from his truck said the man, believed to be in his late 30s or early 40s, was crossing the tracks when the train hit his pickup.

The driver, an employee at Arcelor Mittal steel company, told emergency crews that he didn’t see the train coming. It wasn’t immediately clear if warning lights and bells were working at the time or if the train sounded its whistle.

The crossing does not have crossing gates.

Officials said the train was going about 40 mph as it was pulling into the freight yard at the time of the collision.

The engineer tried to stop the train before hitting the truck, but did not have enough time. The train hit the truck and pushed it about 500 feet along the tracks with the driver still inside.

Riverdale Fire Lt. Robert Scharnhorst said, “the pickup truck was pretty well involved underneath the train. It was up on an angle, it wasn’t rolled over, but it was up on an angle.”

According to Scharnhorst, the driver’s side of the truck’s cab was smashed in about 18 inches.

Firefighters said it took about 30 minutes to free the driver from the truck and he was conscious at the time.

“He was complaining of some difficulty feeling in his legs, but other than that he was okay for the most part, just confined,” Deputy Fire Chief Chris Van Dyke said.

The driver was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with head and leg injuries, but his condition was not available late Friday morning.

CSX officials at the scene declined to comment on the crash.

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