LEBANON, TN (WSMV) - A trip to buy peaches turned into a train wreck, literally.

The Music City Star took Tony Wolfe for quite a ride on the front of the train July 16.

Wolfe was leaving the farmer’s market in Lebanon when he pulled into the path of the train.

The train was travelling at 18 miles per hour when it broadsided Wolfe’s pick-up.

"I thought as soon as he hit me, it was a mild impact. I thought it was over with. I thought, I’m taking my seat belt off, then I thought, ‘we’re not stopping yet,’" Wolfe said.

The train pushed his F-250 pick-up 173 feet down the tracks with the tires of his truck plowing up dirt the whole way.

Wolfe said he didn't see the train, which was over his shoulder. He said he didn't hear it, either.

However, you can clearly hear the train's horn on video shot by a camera on board the train. The horn is following by a long eerie screech as the train pushed the pick-up down the tracks.

Wolfe said he didn't have a scratch on him. He can't say the same for his truck; the passenger's side was bashed in.

Mina Hanna was the one whose surveillance system at Import Auto Repair caught it all on video.

"He got lucky," Hanna said. "If it was a small car it would have been crushed."

The railroad crossing where Wolfe was hit doesn't have a crossing arm to prevent vehicles from driving onto the track.

TDOT said each crossing arm costs about $300,000 and they don’t have the budget to put one at every crossing.

The agency prioritizes upgrading crossings after evaluating a series of factors, such as the crossing’s history of accidents.

The crossing at South Maple Street where Wolfe was hit has not had a collision since 1980.

"If they don’t have enough wrecks to justify it, how many wrecks does it takes to justify it?,” Wolfe said. “But I wish there had been one there now.”

There were no passengers on the Music City Star at the time.

TDOT said it does have plans to upgrade some of the Music City Star crossings, but not this one.

"I keep hearing how lucky I was. I was lucky the day before,” Wolfe said.


Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 Investigates team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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