Shortly before noon Thursday, Rush County dispatchers sent law enforcement personnel to the 700 block of North Main Street in Carthage following a 911 cell phone call. The caller reported that a tractor trailer had been struck by a train.

Carthage Town Marshall Mike Onkst was one of the first responders on the scene and radioed a few moments latter that there were no injuries as a result of the accident and that fire, medical and other law enforcement responders could slow their run but should continue.

According to investigation officer Capt. Mark Click of the Rush County Sheriff’s Department, Damien A. Payne, 26, of Bronson, Mich., was northbound on Main Street in Carthage, following another tractor trailer,  when he failed to come to a stop at a railroad crossing at the north edge of town. Payne’s cab made it across the tracks of a private railroad line but the empty trailer was struck in the side by the engine from the Carthage, Knightstown and Shirley Railroad (CKS).

“Just an hour ago I had over more than 100 school children on this train; can you imagine how much of a mess this would have been,” observed CKS engineer Thomas Allison.

“What people don’t seem to understand is that the trains have the right of way at crossings over vehicles and not the other way around,” said Rush county deputy Mark Click.  

Those sentiments were echoed by Onkst, who said that he and other officers in the Carthage Police Department have been making a concerted effort to cite those motorist that disregard posted stop signs at the railroad crossings in the Carthage area.

Payne said that the Carthage accident was the second accident that involved the trailer we was pulling on Thursday.

“Earlier today when this trailer was fully loaded with corn, it came unhooked from the cab in Pendleton. That’s the reason I have the two passengers with me now because I picked them up because their tractor trailer is being repaired from this morning’s accident,” the Michigan man continued.

“I stopped and looked both ways. I didn’t see anything so I continued across the tracks. My windows were down and I didn’t hear anything either. Then I heard the hit and thought someone had hit the rear of the trailer until I began being pushed sideways,” Payne said.

There are no injuries reported as a result of the accident. The tractor trailer had to be  towed back on to the road.

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