ISP says semi driver who struck locomotive was driving uninsured

PERCY — Illinois State Police are saying the driver of the semi that rammed into a locomotive along the Randolph-Perry County Line yesterday has been cited for driving without insurance.

Three people were injured in the crash, including the driver of the semi, 27-year-old Orville Hobbs of Grand Tower. He escaped the crash just before noon on Wednesday with only some scrapes and cuts.

However, the train’s conductor, 47-year-old James Wiggs of Dix, and the train’s engineer, 64-year-old Dennis Johnson of Centralia, were hurt badly enough that they were hospitalized after the crash.

Illinois Route 4 was closed for more than nine hours while crews worked to contain a spill resulting from the semi rupturing the locomotive’s fuel tank. Hazmat officials believe they’ve kept it from leaking into a nearby lake.

The reason Hobbs may not have been hurt worse is that trains go slowly through the railroad crossing at Route 4. Usually they are coming or going from a nearby rail yard where train cars are refurbished, said Willis.

Illinois State Police say they’re citing Hobbs for operating an uninsured motor vehicle, failure to stop at a railroad crossing, and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash. Hobbs owns the semi he was driving. The writing on one of the doors was visible after crews moved the train out of the way. It said Orville Hobbs Trucking of Grand Tower.