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Truck driver arrested after Collegedale train derailment

From the Chattanoogan: The driver of the tractor-trailer that caused a train derailment in December has been arrested for felony reckless endangerment.

 Emergency agencies in Hamilton County responded on Dec. 20 to a train derailment at the railroad crossing located in the 10000 block of Apison Pike.

The investigation revealed that a tractor-trailer was delivering a 137-foot concrete bridge span across the railroad crossing at the time of the collision.

The driver, identified as Jorge Luis Cruz-Vega, proceeded across the railroad crossing behind his first escort car without first assuring his tractor-trailer could completely clear the tracks. He also did not make contact or arrangements with Norfolk Southern Railroad about his delivery route.

Cruz-Vega stopped halfway across the tracks after his turn, bringing his tractor-trailer into the oncoming lane of traffic instead of his own travel lane.

While stopped in the oncoming lane of traffic, Cruz-Vega’s tractor-trailer carrying the concrete bridge span was struck by a Norfolk Southern locomotive, causing the train to derail.

The derailment caused three engines and 10 rail cars to leave the tracks causing substantial damage to the rail system and other infrastructure.

The train’s engineer and conductor were transported to the hospital with injuries.

Cruz-Vega has also been charged with failure to yield and a registration violation. He is currently out on a $10,000 bond and his court date has been set for April 12.