MONCKS CORNER - A bridge over railroad tracks collapsed near Pimlico on Monday, taking out five empty cars on a train passing under it, according to Berkeley County authorities.
The driver of a black Chevy four-wheel-drive pickup truck approaching the 15- to 20-foot section of missing bridge on Cypress Gardens Road near Bushy Park Road had to make a split second decision on what to do, and decided to jump the gaping hole "Dukes of Hazzard"-style, Berkeley County Rescue Squad Chief Bill Salisbury said.
The man, described as in his 30s, declined to talk to the media, but his truck made it over the chasm and landed on the shoulder of the road, leaving the driver shaken but uninjured.
"He said it happened so fast that he didn't have time to think about it and his reaction was to speed up," Salisbury said. "He would have fallen 20 to 25 feet if he had not cleared that jump. I told him if he was planning to buy a lottery ticket, I would like to go in half with him. He was a very fortunate man."
The bridge collapse also broke a 12- or 14-inch water main, leaving residents in the Cypress Gardens Road-Pimlico area without water. Berkeley County Water and Sewer Authority workers were working on the scene Monday night.
The cause of the collapse is under investigation, Salisbury said. He said it is unclear whether the train hit the bridge or it collapsed on its own.
"Right now, we don't want to speculate what happened," he said. "We'd rather it be investigated and we'll report back later on."
Just before 7 p.m., Berkeley County officials received a 911 call that the bridge had collapsed on a freight train, Salisbury said. Five empty cars derailed as a result.
Salisbury said he was unsure how many cars were on the train, which was traveling toward Moncks Corner, but that hazardous materials being transported in cars at the end of the train were not involved. There also were no injuries of anyone on the train.
Whitesville, Pimlico and Goose Creek fire departments responded to the incident, along with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department, Emergency Preparedness Department, S.C. Highway Patrol, CSX officials and the Berkeley County Water and Sewer Authority.
"We had a lot of emergency personnel on the way but when we got here and found out what it was, we turned a lot around," Salisbury said.
The road will be closed for an undetermined amount of time and traffic will be rerouted, he said.
Ironically, the collapse happened as Berkeley County Council, meeting in council chambers seven miles away, was giving initial approval to an ordinance that will let voters decide whether to continue a 1 percent sales tax to fund road improvement projects.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or @brindge on Twitter.
Five train cars derailed at Cypress Gardens Road at the viaduct near Bushy Park about 7 p.m. Monday after the bridge collapsed on the train. A man driving his pickup truck, shown here, saw the collapse and managed to make it over the chasm.×
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