NTSB initiates crash investigation, names of victims released - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

NTSB initiates crash investigation, names of victims released

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(Source: Darrell Nicholas) (Source: Darrell Nicholas)
© Wreckage burns after two trains collide south of Hoxie Sunday. © Wreckage burns after two trains collide south of Hoxie Sunday.
U.S. 63 blocked in Lawrence Co. after trains collide U.S. 63 blocked in Lawrence Co. after trains collide
(Source: Chris McClellan via Facebook) (Source: Chris McClellan via Facebook)
(Source: Chris McClellan via Facebook) (Source: Chris McClellan via Facebook)
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HOXIE, AR (KAIT) -

The names of those working on two trains that collided south of Hoxie over the weekend have been released.

Jeff DeGraff with Union Pacific said Monday engineer Chance Gober of White Hall and conductor Roderick Hayes of McKinney, Texas were killed in the southbound train. The train had left from East St. Louis headed to North Little Rock.

Those injured in the northbound train were engineer Michael Zompakos of Maumelle and conductor Aaron Jeffery of Conway. Their train was going to East St. Louis from North Little Rock.

The conditions of the two men injured have not been released.

According to a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Sunday night, a southbound freight train with two locomotives and 86 cars collided with another train on the same track. The second train, headed North, had two locomotives and 92 cars. The collision happened around 3:00 a.m. Sunday.

After the collision, some of the wreckage caught fire. Firefighters evacuated approximately 500 residents in the south Hoxie to Minturn area for much of the day as a precaution. Emergency officials lifted the evacuation order and residents should be able to go home. Earlier Sunday the American Red Cross set up shelters in Walnut Ridge at the community center and the West Free Church of Christ Fellowship building for those displaced.

U.S. 67 remains closed from U.S. 63 at Hoxie south to Alicia. The road is expected to be closed for several days as the railroad cleans up the wreckage. Detour markers are in place for both northbound and southbound traffic.

The NTSB says one car carrying an alcoholic beverage caught fire. The federal agency says they have disaster response teams in Hoxie going over the wreckage, monitoring the environment, speaking to residents and railroad crew to determine how the collision happened. 

The NTSB plans to be on scene in Lawrence County about one week. They will be gathering signal information and track operations while here. They do not believe this is an environmental or hazardous chemical threat in the impact area. The locomotives' recorder boxes have been recovered and will be analyzed at the NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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