Colorado: Five People, Including Three Children Die After Amtrak Train Collides With Van

Five members of a family were killed in Colorado on Sunday when the van they were traveling in was hit by an Amtrak train. According to initial reports, the dead included three children and two adults. The identities of the victims have not been revealed yet, CBS News reports. The accident happened in the Las Animas County in southern Colorado at around 9:45 a.m. on Sunday. The accident also resulted in serious injury to another person in the vehicle. The victim was airlifted to a Denver hospital. Officials have described this lone survivor to be a young female.

The Colorado State Patrol has issued a statement regarding the incident that read as follows.

“The Colorado State Patrol is investigating an Amtrak Train versus vehicle crash resulting in five fatalities and one serious injury, which occurred on Las Animas County Road 32, approximately 3 miles north of Trinidad. A 2005 Chrysler Town & Country was traveling northbound on Las Animas County Road 32, when it failed to yield right of way to an Amtrak Train which was traveling westbound. The front of the Amtrak train collided with the right side of the Chrysler. After impact. the Chrysler was pushed westbound on the railroad tracks till the train came to a stop.”

The statement further adds the following.

“The driver and four passengers died as a result of the crash. One occupant was airlifted to a Denver Hospital. All occupants were restrained at the time of the crash. Names of the occupants will be released at a later time. after next of kin has been notified. The passengers and crew members of the Amtrak train were not injured. At this time, alcohol and drug use are not suspected. But failing to yield right of way is being considered as the primary contributing factor of the crash. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the Chrysler Town and Country WAS NOT stopped on the railroad tracks.”

According to State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis, none of the passengers onboard the train were injured in the crash. The train also resumed its journey at 5 p.m. following quick repairs. A statement released by Amtrak said that the train was carrying 286 passengers. All the passengers were stranded for a few hours before the train could resume its journey. The train involved in the crash was The Southwest Chief, traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Images of the badly mangled van were shared on social media networks.

The news of this accident comes just a few months after the Inquisitr reported about another crash that happened in Delaware County, Philadelphia. In that incident, the lead rail of an Amtrak train that was traveling from New York City to Savannah, Georgia, crashed into a construction equipment (a backhoe) on the tracks, resulting in two deaths and more than 35 injuries. The train was moving so fast that it could not come to an immediate halt and continued on with the backhoe till it reached a neighboring town.

According to RailRoadClaims.com, more than 3,000 train accidents occur in the United States in an average year, leading to hundreds of deaths, injuries, and damage to property. However, data from Railroad Safety Statistics point towards a decline in the number of railroad crossing accidents and fatalities with each passing decade. This is perhaps due to the decrease in the number of railroad crossings in the country.

[Image By Steve WilsonFlickr: Westbound: Southwest Chief – Colorado., CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons]