Fatal crash under investigation

Prosser aid crews helped at scene

A semi-truck is reduced to rubble following a train crash in Plymouth.

West Benton Fire and Rescue
A semi-truck is reduced to rubble following a train crash in Plymouth.


A trailer is flipped over, but no leaks or cargo loss were reported from the rail cars.

— Benton County officials today are investigating a fatal crash involving a truck trailer and train.

The truck trailer driver, Ronald Slagg, 66, of Yakima died Wednesday night at Kadlec Regional Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash.

He was driving north on a private road that crossed the train tracks at 42622 E. Christy Road, Sheriff Jerry Hatcher said. His vehicle was hit by a northbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe train

“The semi-truck and trailer was torn apart from the impact and sustained major damage,” Hatcher said. “The trailer was empty at the time of the collision.”

The train was pulling 53 cars carrying lighter fluid and acid with no reported loss of cargo or leaks, he said. The train’s conductor and engineer were not injured.

The crash caused a small fire in nearby brush, Hatcher said. Benton County fire units arrived and put out the fire.

Crews from West Benton Fire and Rescue in Prosser assisted Benton County Fire District No. 6.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the driver of the semi truck that was killed and to those directly involved with the incident from BNSF,” officials from the West Benton station said on Facebook.

The crossing was equipped with warning and stop signs, Burlington Northern spokesman Gus Melonas said. The conductor applied emergency brakes and sounded a warning whistle.

“Fifteen trains were delayed,” Melonas said of the crash’s aftermath. “We’re investigating further and assessing damage to the locomotive.”

As many as 40-45 trains use the crossing daily, he said.

The train in Wednesday’s crash originated in Chicago and was headed to Portland, Ore., Melonas said.


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