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Tower Down - 07.15.21 (MS) "Updated 07.19.21"

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2 confirmed dead after Amtrak train collides with tow truck near Jackson



JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Two people are confirmed dead after an Amtrak accident near Jackson.


According to a statement by Amtrak, a vehicle obstructing the tracks came into contact with the Amtrak City of New Orleans Train 58 at approximately 5:33 p.m. on Thursday.


“There were no injuries to the 142 passengers or crew members on board,” the statement by Amtrak read. “Police are cooperating with local law enforcement to investigate the incident.”


The Hinds County coroner told WLBT that the vehicle involved in the incident was an 18-wheeler wrecker tow truck. The two men killed, who were in the tow truck, were James Creel of the Meridian area and Scott Hartsock of Florida.


RESOURCE LINK with video



James Creel

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Stepp's Towing & Recovery released this statement:


Today we mourn the sudden loss of our dear friend Scott Hartsock. The relationship that was established through our partnership with Monster Jam over 15 years ago, quickly developed into a close friendship with Scott and his family. Our hearts are broken for his wife and children who were his greatest loves.




Although his Monster Truck is Gunslinger, we know he always wore the “white hat” and was one of the good guys.




We will miss you.

Rest In Perfect Peace Scott




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‘Insane driver, team player, joyous friend’: Monster Truckz remembers driver killed in Amtrak crash


SARASOTA, Florida. (WLBT) - We are learning more about one of the men who died in Thursday’s train wreck near Jackson, Mississippi.


Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart says Scott Hartsock of Florida died Thursday afternoon.


The train, headed from New Orleans to Memphis, hit a vehicle that was on the tracks around 5:30 p.m.


Hartsock was a Monster Truckz giant, according to his fellow drivers.


“It is with extreme heartfelt sadness that one of our drivers, Scott Hartsock, has passed away unexpectedly,” the statement read. “He was an exceptional beacon of incredible positivity, laughter, and invaluable knowledge - always willing to assist others, give advice, and share in both the struggles and successes of those around him.”


Monster Trucks said Hartsock was an exceptional asset with a creative mind, adding that his “forward approaches and understanding contributed to a multitude of solutions and insurmountable indebtedness from the Monster Truckz Family.”


The statement continued, “We are honored to know Scott, share in his adventures, and will continuously cherish the time we have all spent with him. He will forever be remembered as an insane driver, knowledgeable team player, and joyous friend. Our warm regards go out to his wife Kathy and children.”


Monster Truckz asked the public to respect the privacy of Hartsock’s family.


Byram Police Chief David Errington says the railroad crossing where Hartsock was killed does not warn drivers of oncoming traffic. It has no crossing arms or flashing lights, police say.


A full investigation continues into exactly what happened at that railroad intersection and who’s at fault.


Meanwhile, Monster Truckz says the incident happened extremely fast.


“While crossing the tracks around 5:30 p.m. in a tow truck, Scott Hartsock and driver of said truck were hit by an oncoming train. The track provided no lights or other deterrents/early warnings. The incident began and ended in under five seconds. The tow truck was pulling Scott’s rig across the tracks due to the high grade of the area, and even with people present, there was an extremely limited time to act (under 5 seconds),” the statement read.


Monster Truckz calls this an unexpected loss of a genuinely great and charismatic person.


When asked about his favorite part of competing in Monster Jam, the website says Hartsocks said, “Being a part of something I truly have a passion for; meeting so many people that have the same dream I had, but I actually got the chance to live it.”


Monster Truckz says they plan to forever keep Hartsock’s legacy alive by honoring him at upcoming shows.



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Fatal accident prompts concerns for more safety measures near railroad track

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Cleanup efforts were underway in Byram on Friday.


Workers spent hours removing debris from a fatal accident scene that claimed the lives of James Creel from Meridian, and Scott Hartsock, from Florida.


The 18 wheeler tow truck the men were in was struck by an Amtrak train carrying more than 100 passengers on Thursday.


The incident happened around 5:30 P.M. on the railroad track located off Old Byram Road near the entrance into the Jackson Motor Speedway.


“As they came around the curve that has the natural overgrowth here, they came right up on the tracks just like that,” said Joel Falk, who’s working with Monster Trukz during its four shows this weekend. “We don’t know if his foot popped off the clutch or exactly what happened, but he may have been paying attention to the difficult curve or to the hill you see those trucks going over. Just like this truck is pulling up, the train, they said, was going about 80 miles an hour and hit them right in the side.”


Falk was friends with Hartsock, whom he said is a well-known Monster Truck driver with more than two decades of experience.


“He was coming here with his famous monster truck GunSlinger, and he was going to drive in all of the four shows that are going to be here this weekend,” said Falk.


Our camera was rolling as two trains came rolling through the tracks.


On that portion of the tracks, there aren’t any safety measures in place to alert drivers when a train is coming, only the loud horn from the locomotive.


Currently, there are only signs warning drivers of the track.


Byram city leaders said they’re not in charge of adding additional safety measures to that location.


“That would not be our responsibility,” said Mayor Richard White. “That’s private property.”


That particular property is private, and city leaders said the landowner is responsible for making the area more visible and safer for drivers.


“They would have to work with Canadian National Railroad to implement greater safety measures such as the flashing lights and folded down crossbars,” said Chief David Herrington, Byram Police Department.


Monster Truckz said they are going to do tributes for Hartsock during its four shows this weekend.


Passengers who were on board when the accident happened were taken to the Amtrak station in Jackson Thursday night.


A train was scheduled to pick them up from there Friday evening to continue their route.



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Thought's & Prayer's are with the Family & Friends. We have a few of the crossings around he as well, though I don't think the trains are roll 80mph. If they were you wouldn't have time once you heard the horn and were committed I can only imagine what it would be like taking a tractor trailer over them, let alone towing one.


And Thanks for don't just a good job posting the updates. Makes a difference from just hearing about it with little to no follow up.

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Service For James Creel:
Visitation: Sunday 5:30-Until
Funeral: Monday 2pm
(visitation 2 hours before that)
Wolf Funeral Lake, MS
There will be a wrecker procession to graveside.
Address to Funeral Home:
Wolf Funeral Services
136 Front Street
Lake, MS 39092
Address to Graveside Service:
Ephesus Baptist Church Cemetery
3535 Ephesus Rd
Forest, MS 39074
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