Train Collides with Truck in S.C.

EASLEY, S.C. --

A driver in Easley missed death by inches when a train crushed his pickup truck on Thursday.

The crash happened at a railroad crossing on Highway 123 and one man witnessed the incident just feet away. That bystander was Richard Helderman, of Traveler's Rest. Helderman had his camcorder rolling the whole time.

"Well, I'm a train video nut," Helderman said.

Helderman has been taking pictures at railroad crossings for about 25 years.

"[It's a] great hobby. I just happened to pick the wrong day to be there," Helderman said.

On Christmas Eve, Helderman had his camcorder set up waiting for a train to pass Highway 123, but instead, a truck pulled onto the tracks just as the gates were going down.

Within a couple of minutes, motorists from Highway 123 rushed over to see what had happened as Helderman described the situation.

The truck was thrown to the other side of the tracks from where he was standing, and within a minute or two, it started to burn, Helderman said.

Rescue crews arrived a couple minutes later. The driver escaped injury.

"They say a train hitting a car is like a car hitting a Pepsi cola can. So, you'd have to describe it, I guess, as pretty awesome," Helderman said.

The Easley Police Department said it is still investigating the crash and have not released the name of the driver.

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