UPDATE: Two Killed In Truck Vs. Train Crash

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UPDATE -- Lycoming County Coroner Charles Kiessling released the names of the two men dead after the pickup truck collided with a freight train on Friday.

According to Kiessling, passenger Darren Ziemer, 46 of Nebraska, was pronounced dead at the scene and driver Howard Martin, 49, was flown to Geisinger Medical Center where he was pronounced dead just before 2:00pm.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- Two men are dead tonight after the pickup truck they were in collided with a freight train on Friday in Lycoming County . Officials on the scene near Montgomery said both were construction workers at the new gas power plant being built in Lycoming County.

Griffith Company, a construction company based out of California, has confirmed that both men who died in the crash were working at the construction site where the new power plant is being built. Griffith Company said the two men were coming back to work after their lunch break when the truck was hit.

A United Rental pickup truck is dented and upside down. It sits feet from the railroad crossing where it was hit by a train here on Brick Church Road in Clinton Township near Montgomery.

Troopers said the truck was headed over the railroad crossing when it collided with a Norfolk Southern Train. The coroner said two men in the truck were killed. He has not yet released their names, but said they are from out of state.

"I feel sorry that somebody lost their life,” said Bill Pewterbaugh from Clinton Township.

Pewterbaugh lives right by the railroad crossing, he was inside his home when the crash happened.

"Basic train noise and a thud,” said Pewterbaugh.

Officials said the passenger died at the scene.

A Life Flight helicopter was called in. Officials said the driver of the truck was taken to Muncy Hospital and later flown to Geisinger Medical Center near Danville where he died.

Griffith Company representatives were also at the crash scene. They told Newswatch 16 both victims were working at the nearby construction site where a power plant is being built. The company says the men were coming back from lunch when the crash happened.

Pewterbaugh says the trains passing through here are loud. He's surprised the driver didn't stop.

"They lay on their horns a lot and they are extremely loud so you really can't miss that. Unfortunately, it costs some lives, so,” said Pewterbaugh.

State Police are still investigating what may have caused the crash in Clinton Township near Montgomery.


  • What's being done to prevent this from happening AGAIN?

    At this particular crossing, there are many obstructions very close to the track that obscure the visibility of approaching trains. There’s just a crossbuck sign (indicating level railway crossings and should be treated like a Yield sign according to sources on the internet). No stop sign, flashing lights, crossing arms, gates, or other safety precautions in place to signal that there would be an oncoming train. Train whistles/horns are often not heard in modern, more soundproofed, vehicles.

    RR traffic has increased tremendously with trains travelling over 50 mph at this crossing. Industry (Halliburton, Panda Power, Express, Kidron, etc) recently moved here means many more cars/trucks using this crossing and Brick Church Road off Route 405 is the most direct route to Panda. Many other people who have homes, farms, businesses, river lots, church, cemetery, etc use this road. There used to be a sign saying trucks over a certain weight could not use this road but this has been removed.

    NB: Another fatality occurred only two crossings before this one. And a horse and buggy were hit (horse killed) on same track a few crossings before in the same week.

    PLEASE – it’s time for the appropriate authorities to step up and install modern warning devices ASAP.

    Make saving lives a NUMBER ONE priority!

    My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones today. God bless!

    • Roy

      Brick Church Rd is not really the most direct route. Most likely, vehicles are approaching on Rt 405 from either Muncy or Montgomery. In either case, why wouldn’t you turn on to Saeger Station Rd? It is protected with gates and lights from either approach.


        With all due respect, it is the most direct route to/fro Route 405 and Panda, especially if they just went down to the little sub shop for lunch…many people use this road to get to other industries, river lots, homes, church, cemetery, farms, and those people who live on Brick Church Road itself, etc….. Just depends on where you’re going..

        Nevertheless, why are there no gates and lights at this crossing? Why aren’t work crews out there after the accident clearing overgrown brush, adding signs, and painting crossing marks on the pavement?

        Nobody would had never been back there before would even know there are RRs with protected/unprotected crossings they have to cross – there are no signs at any of the roads (Route 405, Saegar Station, Brick Church, Riddell, Tebbs) warning of RR protected/unprotected crossing ahead?

        I’ve almost been killed at this crossing 3 x’s due to various obstructions. And yes I always stop – even though I believe a crossbuck sign does not require one to do so in PA – but I have to pull up what seems to be literally within inches of the track to clearly see due to so many obstructions on both sides…this is clearly a hazard. Just imagine if you were in a horse and buggy! I have expressed my concerns to the various parties years ago about this crossing and NOTHING about it has been done to date. Freight trains over a mile long carrying carloads of coal continue to barrel through at over 50mph.

        Anyhow, I’m not going to argue because the point is – this particular crossing, like some other unprotected private/ public crossings in Clinton Township, is UNDENIABLY DANGEROUS. It is statistically very likely that lights and gates could have prevented this accident. Yet two people lost their lives in this tragic and senseless accident.

        I predict “they” might do something now since these tragic fatalities occurred to people working at one of the new industries they brought here, which incidentally also brought in an additional RR track and increased train traffic (what used to be a beautiful bucolic area). I hope to God they don’t continue to blatantly exploit RR employees and other hard-working employees who have to interact with these BIG industries and other businesses as well as the many other people who travel to that area.

        Please make certain that these deaths (two men plus another man who died two crossings before this one, and the horse) are not forgotten – so that others will not die in vain.


        Apologies for typo in previous post. The following paragraph should read:
        “Nobody who had never been back there before would even know there are RRs with protected/unprotected crossings they have to cross – there are no signs at any of the roads (Route 405, Saegar Station, Brick Church, Riddell, Tebbs) warning of RR protected/unprotected crossing ahead?”

  • mary mcgee

    ya know what people…everyone can give their opinions….who was at fault..who could have done something else. Griffith has been in business for 112 yrs. We aren’t related…but we are a family….really. Our entire industry puts their lives at stake trying to make the roads and highways safer for you. This job we were working to make energy better for the public. Keep in mind the two we lost were fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, cousins, uncles and our Griffith brothers. I hope I made some of you to think about the people who put their lives on the line for all of us every fricking day of the week 24/7. Next time you are stuck in a traffic back up due to construction…yell thank you rather than the other. I pray for their families and hope God is holding them in his hands.

  • K

    “The coroner said two men in the truck were killed. He has not yet released their names, but said they are from out of state.” They were unfamiliar with the territory and the unfortunate fact that some RR crossings her do not have lights and bell warnings or gates. ..

    • carsonsolutionsemarketing

      I found out after I blogged that depending on where the track is at that they may not even be required to have lights. I think this is crazy. Of course people should stop and look before they cross. I also heard that the train did not blow the whistle.

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