Derailment Spills Train Cars, Coal Onto Colorado Highway

Truck Driver Killed When Bridge Collapses
Colorado derailment
In this photo released by the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, police respond to the scene of a train derailment near Pueblo, Colo., on Oct. 15. (Joshua Johnson/Pueblo County Sheriff's Office via AP)

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PUEBLO, Colo. — A semi-trailer truck driver was killed when a train derailed and a bridge collapsed, spewing coal and mangled train cars across a highway near Pueblo on Oct. 15, authorities said.

The driver has died, but no further details were available, Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Gayle Perez said by telephone on Oct. 16. No other vehicles were involved, Perez said.

The Colorado State Patrol and the sheriff’s office posted photos and videos showing a partially collapsed bridge over the interstate with the semi-truck caught beneath. The images also show a pileup of train cars, train wheels scattered across the scene and loads of coal covering a portion of the highway. It was unclear when the bridge collapsed, state patrol spokesperson Gary Cutler said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was sending investigators to the site about 114 miles south of Denver.

President Joe Biden had been scheduled to visit CS Wind, the world’s largest facility for wind tower manufacturing, in Pueblo on Oct. 16, but postponed the trip to stay in Washington and focus on the growing conflict in the Middle East. The White House said just a few hours before Biden was set to take off for the trip that it would be rescheduled.

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Pueblo is one of the anchors of Colorado’s sprawling Third Congressional District, which covers more ground than the state of Pennsylvania. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) a combative Trump loyalist, won the seat in 2020 and barely held on to it during the 2022 midterms. Boebert has described Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the president’s signature domestic legislation and the source of hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy incentives, as “a massive failure” that “needs to be repealed.”

A railroad bridge collapse in southern Montana in June sent railcars with oil products plunging into the Yellowstone River, spilling molten sulfur and up to 250 tons of hot asphalt.