Train Derailment Closes Kentucky Highway

BROOKS, Ky. --

Highway 1020 in Bullitt County remains closed Friday as crews try to clean up the mess from a train derailment.

It happened Thursday afternoon, just south of Brooks Hill Road near Shepherdsville.

The train was heading south to Florida at the time.

Witnesses told police a dark green tractor-trailer was trying to turn around near the derailment site Thursday, when it hit the rail and caused the track to offset.

Bullitt County police said that happened about five minutes before the train crossed over the damaged rail, spilling 17 freight cars onto the roadway and into the yards of several nearby homes.

Officials said those train cars were hauling vehicles from Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant, just beginning their trip south to Tampa.

CSX and NTSB officials are continuing to investigate the exact cause of the derailment, though Bullitt County authorities said the sooner someone comes forward, the better.

"Well, if they come forward at this time, it will simply be a matter of their insurance. If the sheriff's office and CSX and federal agencies get involved, he'll probably go to jail when he's found," said Chief Deputy John Cottrell with Bullitt County Sheriff's Department.

Bullitt County EMA officials said by 8 a.m. Friday, all of the derailed train cars had been removed from the tracks. The train cars are being staged in areas to the east and west of the tracks.

The damaged section of the railroad track is being repaired or rebuilt where necessary.

Officials said the repair process is expected to be completed later Friday. The damaged rail cars will then be staged in a secure lot on the west side of Highway 1020.

Fire and emergency management officials are still at the scene monitoring the cleanup. They expect to make a determination on when Highway 1020 will reopen later Friday.

Copyright 2011 by ©2011 Hearst Properties Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.