Leslie Cipriani was sitting in her car at a stop sign when she happened to see the makings of a devastating collision. Leslie told the Associated Press that she observed a truck driver on the train tracks preparing to make a difficult turn. According those who witnessed the crash, the man was attempting to position the truck when the sound of a train whistle became startlingly audible.
According to Cipriani, the truck driver knew that there was no possible way for him to clear the tracks in time, and opted to flee from the vehicle. Using her phone, Leslie captured the horrific sight of an Amtrak train hitting the trailer with full force. The train-truck collision happened in Halifax County, North Carolina, on Monday.
“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!'”
The North Carolina Department of Transportation said in an official statement that there were 40 passengers who required medical attention and were taken to area hospitals. However, some reports indicate that total injuries for the train-truck collision reached 55. Federal authorities put the total injuries at 62. There currently doesn’t seem to be an agreement on the official injury total. Fortunately, despite the nature of the incident, there were no fatalities or life-threatening injuries.
The Amtrak train, which departed from Charlotte, North Carolina, was carrying a total of 212 passengers and eight crew members to New York. Transportation Department spokesman Mike Charbonneau told reporters that the remaining passengers were put on buses to Richmond, Virginia. There they could take a different train and hopefully continue on toward their intended destination.
Although the inability of the truck driver to clear the tracks seems the obvious cause of the train-truck collision, one man blames “bad geometry.” Steve Ditmeyer, a former Federal Railroad Administration official, examined the location on Google Maps and observed that the curve of the tracks would have made it hard for the engineer to see any obstacles. This, of course, would mean that he would not have attempted to slow the train until it was far too late.
Officials: 55 passengers injured in truck-train collision. http://t.co/uxcFGexSB4 pic.twitter.com/icRjo2kZbD
— FOX 29 (@FOX29philly) March 10, 2015
At the same time, the curve would have made it nearly impossible for the driver of the truck to be aware that a train was coming. It’s very fortunate that the whistle alerted the man that there was a train headed toward him. Otherwise, this collision could have claimed his life.
[Image Credit: ABC7 WJLA]