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Cars, trains pile up after semi hits underpass

October 31, 2012
Morning Journal News

COLUMBIANA - Traffic was blocked for more than three hours Tuesday and four trains stopped from traveling through after a semi truck became lodged beneath the railroad underpass on Columbiana-Lisbon Road.

The American Transportations Services Inc. 18-wheel semi driven by Jehad A. Haleem, 28, Orland Park, Ill., was heavily damaged in the accident.

There was no cargo inside the 53-foot-long trailer, the inside of which was exposed to the elements as a result of the roof being shorn off from scraping the underpass.

Article Photos

Columbiana Police Detective Wade Boley (front) took pictures as Norfolk Southern and Brad's Towing employees assessed the underpass on Columbiana-Lisbon Road after a semi truck got stuck there Tuesday afternoon.

Tom Vanhorn, a supervisor with Norfolk Southern Railroad, said Haleem had driven the semi roughly 30 feet through the underpass before stopping. Vanhorn and Norfolk Southern employee Bill McVicker were at the scene to see if the bridge was damaged as a result, which Vanhorn said it wasn't.

The clearance height for the underpass is 10-feet-6-inches and the Volvo semi was roughly more than 12-foot-tall, Vanhorn said.

The railroad company gave three of the four stopped trains the go-ahead to proceed through town using that rail line a few hours after it was determined the bridge had not been damaged, he added.

Meanwhile, Brad's Towing of Petersburg was still prepping the semi for removal from the roadway shortly after 3 p.m.

The company had helped pull the semi backwards from the underpass after it was stuck.

Detective Wade Boley of the city police department said Haleem was traveling into the city in the northbound lane when he entered the underpass around 12:30 p.m., ripping the roof off the cab and a portion of the trailer and smashing the front end of the trailer.

Vehicle traffic was barred access through the underpass in both lanes while the railroad company, police department and City Service Director Jay Groner worked to get the road back in order. Portions of the truck's roof and other debris was scattered about the road and Groner worked to keep the matter from clogging up the water drains which were already full from the rain.

Boley cited Haleem for failure to obey traffic control devices. American Transportation Services is a general freight company located in Plainfield, Ill.



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