The cause of a train derailment near Oregon late Saturday night is undetermined.
“It will be undetermined - either vandalism or employee error,” Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said Tuesday afternoon.
He said railroad officials told him the brakes had been set on the cars.
According to a press release from VanVickle, 17 of 99 empty train cars derailed just before 10 p.m. at the Pines Road rail crossing just west of Devils Backbone Road.
The rail line is owned by Illinois Railway and is operated by Omni Track.
The cars, with no locomotive attached, were being stored on the rail line between Devils Backbone and Oregon Trail Roads.
“For an unknown reason the rail cars began to roll southeast towards Pines Road where the unaccompanied cars struck a derailing device causing 17 of the 99 empty cars on the line to derail,” the press release read.
Several of the cars came to a rest on Pines Road and in the north ditch area beside the road.
The incident was called in by a motorist. During the derailment one of the rail cars struck and damaged a ComEd utility pole, which was replaced early Sunday morning.
No one was injured in the incident.
VanVickle said the recent extreme weather did not play a part in the derailment.
He said the rail cars had been situated on the rail line since December. The line, which is no longer used, runs to Mt. Morris.
Pines Road was closed to traffic between Devils Backbone and Gale Roads until Monday morning while rail crews cleaned up the wreckage.
The Oregon Fire and Police Departments assisted the sheriff’s department at the scene.