Trains derail, hit car in separate incidents

Sunday, September 2, 2001

Friday night wasn't a good one for trains in Southeast Missouri.

First, a broken rail caused a 117-car Union Pacific train to go off the tracks in Scott County, then another train struck a car in downtown Cape Girar-deau.

No one was injured in either accident.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, a coal train, carrying a load from Wyoming to a Georgia utilities company, derailed with 19 cars leaving the tracks in the village of Perkins.

Carl Schott, who lives near the accident site, arrived home shortly after the derailment. He and his son had just attended the Rams football game in St. Louis.

When he noticed the cars off the track, he asked his wife what had happened. She told him she heard a loud bang, then something that sounded like "big metal dominoes." She said the accident shook the house they've lived in for 25 years.

Mark Davis, spokesman for Union Pacific, confirmed that a broken rail was the cause of the accident. He said the train was operating on a side track because it had just passed another. A rail on the side track had broken, causing the derailment.

Union Pacific planned to have the tracks operational by late Saturday.

Schott said trains pass by his house at least every 30 minutes.

"I don't even notice the sound," he said.

In Cape Girardeau shortly after 12:30 a.m. Saturday a train belonging to Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad struck an empty parked car.

Police said Geoffrey Lugger, 20, of Cape Girardeau, had parked the car too close to the tracks near the intersection of Broadway and Water streets before walking to a restaurant downtown.

Lugger had borrowed the car from a friend. He was able to drive it away, but the cowcatcher on the train caused moderate damage to the vehicle, police said.

335-6611, extension 160

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