Train derails near Hooper
Endicott wheat spilled alongside state Highway 26
Last updated 5/19/2022 at 3:08pm
HOOPER - A wheat train derailed along state Highway 26, west of the town of LaCrosse and east of Washtucna.
Ten train cars derailed, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Janet Matkins said Tuesday, May 17.
At least four covered hoppers were among the cars off the tracks. One spilled wheat.
Matkins confirmed the Union Pacific train was hauling wheat, out-bound from Endicott.
Watco, the company that operates the Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad, is investigating the mishap with a contractor.
The exact time and date of the derailment remains in question.
A passerby reported he saw the derailment Friday, but Matkins disagreed.
"It was on May 14 that it happened," she said.
The Whitman County Sheriff's Office did not have a record of the incident. And a worker sitting in a white truck near the derailment site Saturday, May 14, declined to comment.
Union Pacific officials said they didn't have a report of the incident, but Matkins confirmed the cars belonged to the rail company.
"The tracks are owned by WSDOT, so that could be why they (Union Pacific) did not have a report of the derailment," she said.
"I don't have anything about a Union Pacific derailment in that area and time-frame," a spokeswoman for the rail company said.
Passerby Ed Schultheis reported seeing the derailed cars Friday.
"I passed through there about 7:30 p.m.," Ed Schultheis said. "The train was still attached. Non-derailed cars were still attached.
"There were no people around, or railroad people looking at the wreck."
Meanwhile, Schulthesis passed by the derailment site again Sunday afternoon, May 15.
"At that time, there were a couple people who looked like they were working on the problem," he said. "They left about 8 to 10 railcars sitting there.
"They had the detached cars sitting on the rails. Ahead of that 3 or 4 more cars, the wheels were off the tracks."
No other information on the derailment, value of the cargo, or crash details were available at press time.