A truck driver died and several freight train cars were derailed during a Monday morning collision northeast of Houston.
The crash between an 18-wheeler and Union Pacific train occurred shortly before 7:30 a.m. Monday along Interstate 69/U.S. 59 near its intersection with Fostoria and Midline roads, between the towns of Splendora and Cleveland, according to Lt. Troy Teller of the Splendora Police Department. He said 21 train cars were derailed in the collision and that a hazardous materials team from Union Pacific was on site and monitoring air quality as a precaution.
Union Pacific spokesperson Robynn Tysver confirmed that its hazmat crews were on site, adding that an estimated 100 gallons of diesel fuel was released by the truck involved in the crash.
“From what we’re being told and shown, there’s no major chemicals to be concerned about,” Teller said. “It’s more so household chemicals on board for retail purposes. It’s not a large quantity from what we’re being told.”
The driver of the 18-wheeler died from injuries sustained in the crash, according to a Monday morning Facebook post by the East Montgomery County Fire Department. Tysver said there were no injuries among Union Pacific’s train crew. There were no other fatalities or injuries associated with the crash, according to Teller.
Vehicle traffic had reopened on the I-69/59 main lanes by 11 a.m. Monday, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, but Teller said the northbound feeder road between Fostoria and East River Road to the south was expected to remain closed until early Tuesday. Midline Road is expected to be closed until 3 p.m. Monday, according to Teller, who said access to the road after that point will be temporarily restricted to residents who live off Midline.
Teller said the train track running along the highway also was expected to be inoperable until early Tuesday, adding that several feet of the track were damaged and needed to be replaced.
The factors that led to the crash remained under investigation as of late Monday morning. Teller said there are no railroad crossing arms at the intersection where the collision occurred, just a railway crossing yield sign.
“The 18-wheeler was attempting to cross that section when he made contact with the train,” Teller said. “It’s undetermined whether the horn was blown or not.”
Matt Harab contributed to this report.