Driver leaves truck on Topton railroad tracks, train strikes truck

TOPTON — A tractor-trailer driver left his truck sitting on train tracks while getting directions, causing a train crash Wednesday afternoon.

According to a press release from state police at the Reading barracks, Alton Lavoid Russell, 65, of Daytona, Fla., parked his tractor-trailer on Norfolk-Southern train tracks on North Home Avenue, at Center Avenue, in Topton Borough around 5:15 p.m. as he sought directions.

Before he could return to the vehicle, it was struck by a westbound train, causing more than $30,000 in damage to the truck, the train and warning lights for the train tracks, police said.

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Images of the truck obtained by www.berksmontnews.com showed it sliced in half with the truck cab lying on its side on one half of the tracks. The trailer’s logo showed it belonged to CFI.

Police said Russell was charged with causing or risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief - damage to property, recklessly endangering another person, and related charges. He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Paul J. Hadzick Thursday morning and was being held in Berks County Prison after being unable to post $50,000 cash bail, according to court documents. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. June 11 before Judge Victor M. Frederick IV.