Trucker’s “Rookie” Mistake Leads to “Circus” in Small Pennsylvania Town
Franklin, PA – A trucker’s unusual detour to deliver a load of steel created quite a commotion in small Pennsylvania town last week.
Michael Henderson works at a steel mill in the town of Franklin and had a front-row seat for what he called a “circus” on June 23.
In an interview with Transportation Nation Network (TNN), Henderson recounted the confounding events.
According to Henderson, the saga began when a semi-truck hauling a flatbed trailer loaded with steel intended for the mill had a mid-morning delivery.
Henderson said the mill is sort of “tricky” to get into and truckers making deliveries to the location often get confused how to get there, especially if they rely on GPS.
“We expect strange things,” he said.
Henderson said he predicts this trucker fell victim to his GPS and “turned too soon,” finding himself at the wrong company.
According to Henderson, approximately a quarter of a mile of rail line separates the “wrong company” from where the trucker was scheduled to deliver.
Instead of turning around at the “wrong company” and trying again, Henderson says the trucker tried to take a shortcut and drive down the tracks.
“He looked down the rail line and saw enough space between the two sets of tracks and thought he could make it,” he recalled.
Henderson said the trucker “almost made it” too, but didn’t account for a section of railway where two sets of tracks merged.
The big rig was unable to bypass the switch and popped a number of tires in the process.
Law enforcement was called to the scene, and that’s when Henderson says things really got crazy.
“Police came to the scene and somehow that officer crossed the rails in a bad place and blew out two of his tires,” he explained.
That area of tracks, Henderson said, is a live line, which posed another hurdle.
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Thankfully, officials were able to make contact with the railroad and explain the situation to mitigate any possible catastrophe with a train operating through the area.
To make matters worse, Henderson said during the tow truck’s attempt to pull the tractor-trailer off the rails, the front bumper of the semi-truck was torn off.
“We found out later it was because the driver had not taken the brakes off,” he told TNN.
“It looked like a circus!” he laughed.
Henderson described the driver as a “rookie” who drove for Redmond, OR-based Central Oregon Transport.
He said the trucker was clearly embarrassed by everything that had transpired, but the team at the mill welcomed him in and even bought him lunch.
It took about eight hours to get the truck “un-stuck” according to Henderson and took the assistance of another police cruiser, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and a tow truck.
Once over the rail split, the driver was able to navigate his load of steel down the tracks and to the mill (even with the flat tires) so the flatbed could be unloaded.
The trucker stayed in Franklin overnight and the tires were replaced on-site the next morning.
Thankfully the story had a happy ending with no injuries, and the staff at the mill was even surprised the next day with lunch from the tow company as a “thank you” for being so kind and accommodating to the trucker during the fiasco.
While he admits to seeing “some crazy stuff” at the mill, Henderson said this one took the cake.
Photo courtesy Michael Henderson