Two people were killed and two were injured when two Union Pacific trains collided near Hwy. 67 early this morning in Hoxie, and State Police are evacuating the southern end of the city while the trains burn. U.S. 67 south of Hoxie and U.S. 63 are closed. The trains were carrying hazardous chemicals.
From the State Police:
At approximately 3 AM today (Sunday, August 17th) Arkansas State Troopers were notified of a collision inside the community of Hoxie (Lawrence County) involving two Union Pacific freight trains.
The collision has claimed the lives of two individuals and left two persons injured. All are believed to be among the crews onboard the freight trains.
As a precautionary measure a large number of Hoxie residents have been evacuated. The evacuees have been directed to the Walnut Ridge Community Center.
Officials of the Union Pacific Railroad report both trains have toxic chemical cargo.
A fire involving one of the train engines was reported still burning at daybreak, however it is not believed to be threatening any of the toxic cargo.
Motorists traveling along U.S. 67 through Lawrence County should anticipate a detour onto Highway 91 east of Hoxie. All highways leading into Hoxie are now blocked by Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement personnel.
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State Police provided this update at 12:30 p.m.
All roadblocks in and around Hoxie have been removed with the exception of Highway 67 south of Highway 63 and Highway 67 at the intersection with Highway 230. Roadblocks at these two locations will remain active for up to three days while railroad crews remove wreckage.
Highway 91 remains open as an alternate route for motorists traveling to Walnut Ridge and the Hoxie area.
Most of the evacuees removed from their homes earlier today have been allowed to return.