First responders braced themselves for a gruesome scene after a train and semi-truck collided Tuesday morning.
What they found exceeded their wildest expectations.
"The driver was still alive," Campo Mayor Ray Johnson said. Johnson also works for the town's volunteer fire department, and arrived on scene about five minutes after the collision a half-mile north of town.
Not only was the driver alive, he had not suffered any life-threatening injuries. This after being pushed more than 400 yards down the tracks in a truck fully engulfed in flames. Johnson believes he climbed out a window after coming to a complete stop.
Based on the train engineer's account, it's believed the truck driver saw the train coming, but couldn't change gears fast enough to get out of its way. Johnson has seen his share of fatal accidents, both on the road and on the railroad tracks just outside of town, and says the fact that the driver survived is "amazing."
The driver, identified as Ernest Ray Hicks from Lamar, didn't want to be transported according to Johnson, but was still flown to the nearest hospital to treat second and third-degree burns.
The crash happened around 8:08 a.m. just north of Campo, which is a small Baca County town in the southeastern corner of Colorado, not far from the Oklahoma border. The railroad tracks cross Highway 287, which is currently closed at the crash site for cleanup.
Johnson says despite Campo's tiny population--109 as of the 2010 census--their volunteer fire department numbers more than 20 people, and he credits those responders with salvaging the train.
"It's still drivable," he told 11 News. No one on the train was injured.
It's still unknown if Hicks will be charged for the incident.