1 dead in SunRail train-semitruck crash in Seminole County, FHP says

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Emergency crews investigated fatal crash involving a semitrailer and SunRail train, troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The crash happened around noon Thursday near South Ronald Reagan Boulevard and Lyman Road in Longwood.

"It just sounded like an explosion, a big crash, and then the train screeched to a halt," witness Hector Herrera said.

The semitrailer's driver, Stephen Chambers, 40, died in the crash, investigators said.

He was backing into ACF Environmental, a business at the time of the accident, troopers said. Chambers was trying to get out of the semitrailer when he was struck by the train, FHP officials said.

"He did try and exit the vehicle as people were yelling for him to get out of the vehicle," Kim Montes, with the Florida Highway Patrol, said.

There were 38 people on the SunRail train. None were hurt, investigators said.

The Seminole County Fire Department has reported 30 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the semitrailer following the crash. The diesel fuel has been contained, officials said. The semitrailer was also hauling temporary fencing materials containing wood stakes and mesh, FHP officials said.

"It was pretty, pretty chaotic. Just people running around. It was really, really intense," Herrera said.

Troopers said the crossing arms for the railroad tracks were working. Surveillance video showed they came down onto the semitrailer.

All SunRail trains are back on schedule.

Crews have had to repair the railroad crossing gates eight times in the last year because trucks ran through them, officials said.

FDOT went to ACF environmental in May and July to talk to the company about safety near the train tracks.

"Crews had noticed some of the truck traffic before and communicated i to our SunRail safety team. And then we had some issues where some gates were broken where trucks had evidently needed to get through," Olson said.

Olson said FDOT officer to have a safety presentation at ACF, but never heard back.

Watch Skywitness 9 video of the crash below: