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Update: Truck driver in Collegedale train crash facing charges, police say

Jorge Luis Cruz-Vega. Image: Collegedale police/Dash cam video still.
Jorge Luis Cruz-Vega. Image: Collegedale police/Dash cam video still.
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UPDATE (January 11th, 2023):

A truck driver who was stuck on railroad tracks in Collegedale, causing a collision and train derailment, is now facing charges, according to the Collegedale Police Department.

Jorge Luis Cruz-Vega is being charged with failure to yield, a registration violation, and felony reckless endangerment, Collegedale police say.

Collegedale police say he is currently out on a $10,000 bond and his court date has been set for April 12th, 2023.

You can watch hours long dash camera footage from the incident, including reaction from the truck driver here.

UPDATE (December 21st):

The Collegedale Police Department has identified the truck driver as 64-year-old Jorge Luis Cruz-Vega.

UPDATE (December 20th, 7:14p.m.):

The railroad crossing at College Drive East and Apison Pike where several train cars derailed is back open as of 7p.m. Tuesday, Collegedale Police say.

Watch NewsChannel 9 SkyView video of the crash scene below:


A train derailed in Collegedale early Tuesday afternoon after it struck a truck across the tracks carrying a 134-foot concrete bridge beam, according to Collegedale Police.

Video shows the train smash into the beam, causing a loud boom:

UPDATE JUST IN: Officials say 2 Norfolk Southern employees were taken to the hospital, and the truck driver was not hurt.

The derailment involved 10 train cars.

Hamilton County Emergency Services spokeswoman Amy Maxwell says,

According to fire officials, the driver of the tractor trailer was stopped on the railroad tracks waiting for the light to turn green on Tucker Road. During that time, Norfolk Southern railroad activated its crossing arms. The tractor trailer was unsuccessful of clearing the railroad tracks and was hit by the train. Three locomotives and 10 railroad cars derailed and slammed into each other causing a disastrous mess!

Diesel fuel and lube oil leaked from two of the locomotives, says the Chattanooga Fire Department. There were no other hazardous materials involved, CFD says.

Diesel absorbent booms and pads have been deployed and vacuum trucks are also being utilized to recover the estimated 1,000 gallons of spilled diesel into Wolftever Creek, according to TDEC.

Hamilton County EMA says the driver stopped on the tracks while he waited for a light to turn green.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation says the roads near the crash scene will be closed for a long time, and drivers are urged to avoid the area.

EMA says the truck was carrying a piece of concrete was 134 feet long.

We discovered the Federal Railroad Administration actually mentions dangers like this at crossings, saying traffic like that barrier can get stuck at red lights.

The FRA says vehicles with big loads should never start across train tracks unless they can do it without stopping.

Watch our team coverage below:

A viewer in Collegedale captured the crash that led to the derailment on video:

The video shows a train crashing through a trailer that was carrying a large concrete highway barrier.

Norfolk Southern confirms the derailment in an email.

A spokesman says "Initial reports do not indicate any hazardous material cars involved."

We have a crew on the scene working to learn more information.

Facebook live video shared with us by viewer Larry Mann shows several cars derailed:

This happened near University Drive and Apison Pike in Collegedale, near McKee Foods, which makes Little Debbie's snacks.

Right now, we don't know if anyone was hurt, nor do we know what caused the crash.

Collegedale Police tell drivers to avoid the area for now.

Click on our gallery above to see more photos of the wreckage.

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We're working to learn more details, so check back later.

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