Up to 62 Injured as Amtrak Train Hits Truck

Witness: Tractor-trailor was trying to make a difficult turn
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2015 3:55 PM CDT
In this frame grab from video provided by WTVD-11, authorities respond to a collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a truck, Monday, March 9, 2015, in Halifax County, NC.   (Uncredited)
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(Newser) – An Amtrak train collided with a tractor-trailer that was stuck on the tracks while trying to make a difficult left-hand turn today in Raleigh, North Carolina. At least one of the train's cars toppled and 55 or more people were injured. The tractor-trailer had backed up several times as the truck's driver tried to make the turn, says Leslie Cipriani, who shot a video of the crash with her cellphone while sitting in her car at a stop sign. While the driver was still attempting the maneuver, Cipriani heard the sound of the oncoming train and saw the crossing arms hit the tractor-trailer. "I saw him jump out of the truck when he knew he couldn't beat it. ... I heard the train noise and thought, 'Oh my God, it's going to happen,'" she says. The truck driver jumped out in time and was not injured.

A law enforcement officer was blocking the intersection before the collision, possibly trying to help the truck driver make the turn. Asked if it seemed that the officer knew the train was coming, Cipriani replied: "That's what it looked like." The tractor-trailer, owned by Guy M. Turner Inc. in Greensboro, had a permit to carry an overweight load of 80,000 pounds, says a state Department of Transportation spokesman. It wasn't immediately clear what the tractor-trailer was carrying; the company did not respond to an email asking for comment. Officials differ on the injury toll, which may have been as high as 62. Today's collision was the third serious commuter train crash in less than two months. Two deadly crashes in New York and California last month killed a total of seven people and injured 30.

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