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Dozens Injured In Train Derailment

Posted on October 3, 2012

One minute you’re a passenger aboard a train and the next you have sustained multiple injuries because the train derailed. What caused the derailment? It was the driver of a big rig who failed to yield and collided with the train. This is what happens when you fail to obey the rules of the road.

Repair crews worked into Tuesday removing two derailed cars and a locomotive and to repair damaged railroad tracks after an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed in a collision with a big rig truck in California’s Central Valley.

Amtrak California locomotive train.

Amtrak California locomotive train. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries.

The Monday afternoon crash occurred when the driver of the big rig carrying cotton trash failed to yield and hit the train. The impact pushed the two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks south of Hanford, a farming town.

The train traveled about 600 feet after the collision before hitting a switchback and derailing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Harris.

Officials have not determined how fast the train or the truck were going, but the average speed for Amtrak through the area is 70 to 80 mph, while the speed limit on the roadway where the truck was traveling is 55 mph, Harris said.

After the crash, metal pieces from the truck could be seen inside the train, which was covered by cotton seeds. Several pieces of luggage were also scattered around the area.

Kings County Assistant Sheriff Dave Putnam described the injuries to passengers as bumps, bruises, scrapes and possibly broken bones.

The crash occurred at a crossing that was equipped with gates to stop traffic.

Eight of the injured passengers were taken to Adventist Medical Center in Hanford and five more were expected. She did not provide details on the extent of their injuries.

Four additional injured passengers were taken to nearby Adventist Medical Center in Selma, while seven people were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.

The train was on its way from Oakland to Bakersfield, according to Amtrak. It had four rail cars and a locomotive.

The truck driver suffered minor injuries, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Jerry Pierce. Investigators will try to determine if the crash was caused by driver error, a malfunctioning crossing arm, or something else.

Pierce said the other passengers were taken to an auditorium in Hanford, where they boarded another train and continued to their destinations or they were picked up by family members.

All train service through the area was halted after the crash.

Meanwhile, a second accident, this one around 4 p.m. Monday about 10 miles away involving a freight train and a big rig, left a truck driver with major injuries.

If you or a loved one were the victim of a train accident that was caused by negligence or some other form of reckless behavior, it is important that you contact a committed and dedicated personal injury lawyer to help you decide if you should file a lawsuit. A competent and reputable injury lawyer can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.

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