Scott County

Tracks may reopen Tuesday after trains collide, derail and burn in Scott County

Train car pileup in Scott County is shown in drone video

Two trains crashed and spilled cars sideways across tracks and on nearby hills in Scott County March 18. The derailment forced the temporary evacuations of nearby residents until authorities could assess if hazardous materials were dumped.
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Two trains crashed and spilled cars sideways across tracks and on nearby hills in Scott County March 18. The derailment forced the temporary evacuations of nearby residents until authorities could assess if hazardous materials were dumped.

The cleanup of two freight trains that collided and derailed in Scott County is expected to be completed enough for the track to reopen to traffic on Tuesday, Norfolk Southern said.

The crash, which occurred near Lisle Road in Georgetown about 11 p.m. Sunday, caused about 13 train cars to derail, started a fire, forced a temporary evacuation and sent four people to the hospital as a precaution, according to the company and the Georgetown Police Department.

The four were part of the Norfolk Southern train crews, and all but one was released from the hospital, according to the Associated Press.

The trains collided where two parallel tracks turn into one track, according to video. The northbound train ran through a switch where the tracks split and hit a stopped southbound train head-on, according to WKYT, the Herald-Leader’s reporting partner.

Multiple locomotives and about 200 train cars were involved in the collision, according LEX 18 said.

Norfolk Southern released a statement Monday saying it expects the track to be cleared, repaired and re-opened to trains on Tuesday. Some trains were being rerouted until the repairs were made.

Both trailer parks on Lisle Road were evacuated after one of the trains leaked what was thought to be a chemical, police said. Buses were used to evacuate residents without transportation to Lemons Hill Elementary School.

Scott County Superintendent Kevin Hub said the district was prepared to receive hundreds of people, according to the Associated Press. But the evacuations were lifted about 2 a.m. Monday when crews did not find any hazardous material spilling from the trains, police said.

The crash also led to lane closures on Interstate 75 for about two hours.

The rail company did not initially say what the trains were carrying or what spilled, but later it said a non-hazardous nut oil had spilled and was being cleaned up, according to the Associated Press.

At Lemons Hill Elementary, Christina Griffin said she was asleep when neighbors called her around 11:30 p.m. to say they needed to evacuate, according to Associated Press. As she and her son were leaving, an officer warned them to get out of the neighborhood, she said.

Betty Boyer had just laid down when she heard what she thought was something exploding.

“We thought, what the hell was that? Was it a train? Was it a trailer? We didn’t see any smoke,” Boyer told the Associated Press. Then she then got a call from her son in Missouri asking if they were being evacuated. He’d apparently received a message from a friend who saw the accident on Facebook, she said.

She grabbed her purse and a pillow and headed over to the elementary school.

“I’m supposed to be up at 6 a.m. in the morning to go to work,” she said. “That ain’t happening.”

The railroad crossing on Lisle Road in Scott County was briefly opened then closed again in March as railroad cars were moved near the site of a derailment. Two trains collided and a derailment occurred.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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