Troopers: Snow may have caused Cottondale train crash - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Troopers: Snow may have caused Cottondale train crash killing two people

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Cottondale - AL -

     Tuscaloosa State troopers believe Tuesdays's snow event may have been a factor in a train hitting a pickup killing two men from South Alabama.

     They've been identified as 57 year old, Charles Meiklejohn of Gulf Shores and 39 year old and Nahum Mickles from Foley, Alabama.  Three other men who were also in the vehicle remained hospitalized Wednesday morning.

      A friend of Meiklejohn, Hershel Lewis tells ABC 33/40 the men were contracted workers for the state and were doing some work on the side of I-59 in Tuscaloosa before the snow started falling Tuesday.  "They were putting Sod along side the road there so it won't wash no more.  That's what they were doing up here.  Yesterday, they were on their way out and heading to my house."

      People who live near the railroad crossing at Larry Noland Road say heavy snow fall made visibility down the track impossible.  Jeremy Wood had just crossed minutes before the victims did. He didn't see a train until he got on University Road below which runs parallel to the track. "When they crossed the track yesterday the snow was blowing so bad you couldn't even see the way down the tracks," Wood said.

      Troopers are still investigating but say a preliminary investigation does show the accident may have been weather related.

       Wood believes the snow just made the crossing more dangerous and perhaps the train was upon the victims before they knew it.  "Seems like about every year some gets killed here.  Its a bad crossing and when you can't see it makes it even worse."