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Train vs. tractor-trailer wreck results in no injuries

CUSSETA — Rail traffic along the CSX main line between Lanett and Opelika was interrupted for several hours Tuesday morning after a southbound freight train collided with a tractor-trailer at the crossing on Chambers County Road 299 between Huguley and Cusseta.

Owned by MS Express LLC of Duluth, Georgia, the tractor-trailer got stuck at the crossing while making a left turn off of Kilpatrick Road back toward Cusseta. The rig bottomed out while making that sharp turn uphill. Efforts were under way to extricate it as the southbound train approached.

The train’s engineer, Chambers County resident Lincoln Whaley, said the train was going slower than it normally does when approaching the crossing because of a north bound train being in the Cusseta siding. Had it been going at normal speed, the collision could have been much worse.

As it was, the force of the collision disengaged the truck from its trailer, with the truck coming to rest on the Cusseta side of the intersection and the trailer coasting to a stop in a ditch off Kilpatrick Road. The train came to a stop without derailing. It appeared to be carrying military equipment such as Army tanks and armored vehicles.

Authorities say there were no injuries.

Whaley is the son of the late Terrell Whaley, a former mayor of Lanett. He’s also a former officer with the Lanett Police Department.

Trooper Chris Williams was on the scene for the Alabama State Patrol.