Freight Train Crew Member Texting Before Indiana Derailment

September 13, 2013

A federal report says a freight train crew member was distracted by text messaging soon before crashing into a stopped train in northwestern Indiana, causing the derailment of more than two dozen locomotives and rail cars.

The January 2012 derailment in a rural area a few miles from Valparaiso prompted the evacuation of more than 50 nearby homes as spilled diesel fuel burned.

The National Transportation Safety Board report says the CSX train that caused the crash was going about 40 mph despite warnings of a stopped train ahead of it. The trains collided, sending wreckage onto another line where a third train was derailed.

A CSX spokeswoman says the company accepts the NTSB’s findings and that it has prohibited cellphone use by crew members for many years.

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