Oil field worker saved truck driver's life by pulling him from burning cab

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

A rig worker saved a man’s life last week after pulling him from a flame-engulfed truck after it was struck by an Amtrak train in rural Yazoo County.

Curtis Moore, of Bolton, remained in a hospital as of Tuesday morning with multiple head injuries after the 18-wheeler he was driving collided with an Amtrak train around 10:30 a.m. Friday on Cessna Road.

James Hedgpeth was near the crash site with his fellow rig workers when he was able to pull Moore from the burning tanker truck. Moore was soon airlifted to a Jackson hospital following the crash.

William Pettis, chief of the Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department, was the first to call the crash into dispatch.

“The driver was hauling about 55 barrels of salt water,” Pettis said. “With that kind of weight, he was like a snail crossing the railroad track. He didn’t have a chance to get out of the way.”

There are no lowering rail crossings on the rural track, but Pettis said the area did have a restricted rail speed due to work being done on the railway.

“I believe there is a 50 to 55 mph speed restriction on that rail,” Pettis said.

Jack Willingham, the Yazoo County emergency management director, also said three passengers on the train received medical treatment for heat-related issues after the crash.

Willingham said about 155 train passengers were taken to Bentonia, where they were placed on buses for their destination.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality also responded to the scene to address 1,300 gallons of diesel released after the crash.

Other responding agencies include the Yazoo County Sheriff’s Department, the Bentonia Police Department, and the Tri-Community, Bentonia, Benton, Holly Bluff and District 3 volunteer fire departments.