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Train wreck claims two

By Staff
Ambulance attendants die after being hit by locomotive
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Funeral services were held over the weekend for two ambulance drivers killed when they were hit by a train in Falkville last week.
Tommy Allen Allred, 26, of Vinemont, and Chastity Miller, 29, of Decatur, were killed Aug. 18 when a freight train hit the ambulance they were in at the Piney Grove crossing south of Falkville.
Both were employees of American Ambulance Service, which has offices in Falkville and Cullman. Allred was the driver of the ambulance and an emergency medical technician. Miller was a paramedic.
The accident occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. as the Union Pacific locomotive was moving south from Nashville enroute to Birmingham and the ambulance was traveling east in response to a non-emergency call. The ambulance was struck on the driver's side of the engine compartment and knocked off the tracks. It landed on its side in the right-of-way of Highway 31 about 90 feet from the point of impact. The train continued south for about 250 yards before it came to a stop.
Morgan County Coroner Russ Beard pronounced Allred dead at the scene. His body could not be removed from the wreckage until the ambulance was righted and parts of the vehicle were removed with the aid of a battery-powered cutting tool.
Miller was transported by ambulance to Hartselle Medical Center where she was pronounced dead at 11 a.m.
Allred was an Addison High School graduate, a U.S. Navy veteran, and a widower with a five-year-old daughter.
Miller attended Hazel Green High School and received her paramedic training at Community College. She was the mother of a 14-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son.
The train consisted of two engines and 32 cars. Its engineer, Ruddy Ard, 60, of Cullman was uninjured.
A spokesman for CSX, the railway's owner, said the train was able to continue its run after a delay of two hours and 45 minutes.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation by State Troopers.
A memorial fund has been set up for Tommy Allred and Chastity Miller. Donations can be made to American Ambulance Service, PO Box 819, Cullman, AL 35056.

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