BYRON — A Norfolk Southern train slammed into a driverless tractor-trailer stranded across the railroad tracks Thursday afternoon, destroying the tractor-trailer and derailing the train engine.
No one was injured in the 4 p.m. crash at Lilly Creek Road off U.S. 49 just south of the Ga. 247 Connector, Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said.
The truck driver, who was contracted by the railroad company to pick up crossties that the railroad recently had replaced, went off the roadway with the wheels getting stuck in a ditch as he attempted to cross the tracks, Deese said.
With the wheels stuck, the tractor-trailer straddled the tracks, he said.
The driver heard the train coming and raced toward it in an attempt to flag down the train conductor, Deese said.
But the train did not have the time and distance needed to stop and avoid the crash, the sheriff said.
When the train stuck the straddled 18-wheeler, the engine derailed, Deese said.
However, the engine remained upright, Deese said.
Jamie Turbeville, 29, of Conyers, the tractor-trailer driver for S.C.-based Interstate Towing and Recovery, was charged with driving on a suspended license and failure to maintain lane, Deese said.
The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the crash, Deese said.