- A Philadelphia-bound Amtrak train hit a tractor-trailer that an eyewitness said was stuck on the tracks while trying to make a difficult right-hand turn yesterday. At least one of the train's cars toppled and 40 people were injured.
The tractor-trailer had backed up several times as the truck's driver tried to make the turn, said 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 said.
Officials with the North Carolina Department of Transportation said 25 people were taken to Halifax Regional Medical Center by bus and 15 by ambulance following the crash, which police said happened about noon in the town of Halifax. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, officials said.
A bus was taking another 173 passengers who weren't injured to pick up a train in Richmond, Va., DOT officials said.
A law enforcement officer was blocking the intersection before the crash, possibly trying to help the truck make the turn. Asked if it seemed that the officer knew the train was coming, Cipriani replied: "That's what it looked like."
Federal Rail Administration spokesman Michael Cole said it appeared the locomotive and two cars derailed. State transportation officials said a baggage car derailed.
Cipriani, who was headed home from the Halifax County Courthouse, said she shot the video in case authorities needed it for evidence. "I'm still shaken up about seeing it," she said. "It's an image that I'll never get out of my head."
The Amtrak train was the Carolinian, which runs between Charlotte, N.C., and New York City each day. It was headed north at the time of the crash.