Trial to focus on crash between train and truck hauling portable nuclear generator

By David Yates | Oct 24, 2011


Jury selection began Monday in a trial that will focus on Nationwide Escorting's alleged failure to prevent a train from colliding with a tractor-trailer hauling a portable nuclear power generator.

Court records show that plaintiff Colter Chapman, owner of Chapman Hauling, filed suit against Nationwide owner John Hoots on Aug. 31, 2010, in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Dec. 14, 2008, Chapman contracted Nationwide to safely escort his tractor-trailer, which contained a portable nuclear power generator, from Texas to North Carolina.

That morning, the convoy approached the intersection of Highway 90 and Highway 326 in Jefferson County. Hoots, who was operating the escort vehicle, allegedly failed to advise Chapman's driver of the height difference between the train tracks at the intersection and the road.

Hoots also allegedly failed to warn the driver that a train was coming, the suit states.

"While attempting to cross the tracks, the trailer bottomed out and became stuck on the tracks," the suit states. "At that time, a westbound train collided with the trailer, causing substantial damage to both trailer and cargo."

During the trial, Chapman will argue Hoots breached the contract by failing to safely escort the cargo.

Houston attorney Jacob Esparza represents Chapman.

Dallas attorney Erik Ekvall of Ekvall & Byrne represents Hoots.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is presiding over the case.

Case No. B187-856

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