Witnesses say that a man injured in a truck-train collision at the BNSF crossing on Madison Avenue Friday afternoon may have been trying to beat the train to the crossing.
The Lebanon Police Department is calling 42-year-old Gilbert Mendoza of Lebanon “lucky” following the collision. Mendoza received what the LPD is describing as moderate injuries as a result of the collision could have just as easily been fatal, said Detective Tim Early, LPD public information officer.
“We want everybody to realize that this could have been a lot worse than it was. A split second earlier and this guy may not have made it,” Early said.
At about 1:43 p.m. Friday, Mendoza drove his 2005 Dodge truck north through the Madison Avenue BNSF railroad crossing. Witnesses told the police that Mendoza was driving “really, really slow” while “trying to beat the train” across the Madison Avenue crossing, which was fully operational at that time with whistles sounding and lights flashing in warning of the oncoming train, according to Early.
However, Mendoza did not beat the train. The BNSF train struck the rear driver’s side of Mendoza’s pickup, causing it to flip over and land on its top in the public parking near the railroad tracks.
The accident was captured on video by Electronic Solutions, a business that faces Commercial Street but has its rear entrance facing the parking lot where the truck landed. The video by Electronic Solutions co-owner Sean Clearbrook may be viewed below or by visiting the Clearbrook's Facebook page.
In the video, the truck appears to be slowing down as it crosses the railroad tracks.
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