ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - The trailer of a semi was left twisted and mangled, its load spilled all over the train tracks at Ronald Reagan Boulevard and Plumosa in Altamonte Springs. Florida Highway Patrol's spokesperson says the rig was struck by a SunRail train around noon Thursday.
FHP Sgt. Kim Montes says the driver of the semi was maneuvering across the train tracks attempting to back his trailer into rear loading dock of a business.
"So when the truck entered the tracks coming westbound the arms were not in a down position. As he was on the tracks both arms came down," Montes explained.
She says video from the SunRail shows the conductor tried to stop the train as the driver tried moving his rig off the tracks.
"We don't' know if the driver panicked when he saw the train and just couldn't go. We could clearly see the truck go into gear. But it just didn't have enough time and then he did not have enough time to get out of the truck or waited too late," said Sgt. Montes.
Montes says the SunRail slammed into the truck, ejecting the driver as he tried to escape. The impact pushed the rig down the tracks. The FHP commercial vehicle division is now looking into whether it's safe for big rigs to back into this business.
"They're going to have to figure a way to get these trailers into these business in a safe manner where they are not stopped on the track," said Sgt. Montes.
FHP says the truck driver has been identified as Stephen Chambers, 40, of Hazelhurst, Georgia.
SunRail service between Longwood and Sand Lake Road was put on hold through rush hour while crews disassembled the rig to get it off the tracks. SunRail provided special busses to help get their riders to their destinations.