Two CSX employees were killed and two others injured during a train collision early Tuesday morning in Mineral Springs. The incident happened at approximately 3:38 a.m, as the two trains were traveling northbound. Six homes were evacuated around the scene as firefighters and HAZMAT crews worked to contain a fuel spill.
33-year-old conductor Philip Crawford and 35 year old engineer Greg Hadden, who had been operating the second train, were killed in the accident. Their engine slammed into the back of the first train, although it’s unknown what triggered that incident. CSX officials said the cause of the crash was still under investigation. The first, traveling from New Orleans to Hamlet, had two engines and nine freight cars. The other, traveling to Charlotte from Georgia, had 12 freight cars.
Both CSX and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene Tuesday and Wednesday, checking into the crash. The two employees from the first train jumped off, avoiding all but minor injuries.
“I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the families and coworkers of the two CSX workers who lost their lives in this tragedy,” Mineral Springs Mayor Rick Becker said. “We are grateful for the extraordinary level of support and professionalism on the part of all the responders on the scene.”
Multiple agencies responded to the call, including the Mineral Springs Fire and Rescue, City of Monroe Fire Department, Union County Emergency Management, Union County Sheriff’s Office and the NC Highway Patrol.
One of the trains was carrying vegetable oil, while the second carried grain, officials said.
Firefighters battled throughout the day to put out the blaze, while the local American Red Cross chapter opened a temporary shelter for displaced families at Mineral Springs United Methodist Church. The shelter closed the next day. The portion of Highway 75 that intersected the incident also opened the next day.