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Train Slams into Semi-Truck

City & State, Featured

Vehicles that were on the car hauler hit by Amtrak Train 822 that runs from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City. | Image by News 9

On October 15th, an Amtrak train crashed into a semi-truck that was stopped on the tracks with a force that sent the cars from the hauler into the air. The accident occurred around 7:00 pm in Thackerville, Oklahoma, which is near the border of North Texas. The Amtrak train 822 runs from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City on a daily basis.

According to News 9, the train, also known as the “Heartland Flyer,” derailed a little when the crash occurred. The Outsider mentions that debris was seen flying from the cars that were on the trailer. Some parts of the tracks were damaged at the spot where the train hit the trailer. The train sustained broken windows, damaged luggage racks, and dents on the outside.

ABC News mentioned that the crossing gates of the railroad were down while flashing, but the trailer of the car hauler was trapped inside, all while the horn of the Amtrak train roared loudly. KIRO 7 stated that the car hauler was cut in two when it was hit by the train.

The Sheriff of Love County, Marty Grisham told ABC News that the car hauler tractor-trailer that was attached to the semi-truck got stuck on the tracks. He stated, “The tracks are built up a little bit higher,” speaking of the track crossing where the incident occurred. He continued with, “He had a lot of cars on the trailer. When he tried to cross over the tracks, the trailer high-centered on the tracks, causing him to be stuck and not able to move his tractor-trailer rig any further off the track.”

A local resident, Brandon Sampson, was a witness to the scene and called 911. He also took a video of the accident taking place, where a vehicle from the hauler can be seen soaring through the air. According to Grisham, “authorities attempted to contact the railroad network operator, but the train couldn’t be stopped in time.”

The semi-truck driver was able to get himself and his dog out of the truck before the crash. According to ABC News, five people who were aboard the Amtrak train were sent to hospitals with “non-life-threatening injuries,” and all of them have since been released.

Amtrak stated that 110 crew members and passengers were aboard the train. They also shared, “This train was canceled north of the incident scene and northbound customers were provided substitute transportation.”

The area was cleaned by the early morning of Saturday and the operator of the railroad, BNSF, confirmed that the route through that area has now resumed. A spokesperson for Amtrak has stated that local and state authorities will be conducting a traffic investigation.

According to Reuters, Amtrak has been involved in deadly crashes. In recent years, most of the train crashes have been due to going over the recommended speed and slamming into vehicles at the railroad crossings.

In May of 2015, in Philadelphia, an Amtrak derailed while traveling 106 miles per hour on a curve. The accident sent 185 people on board to hospitals and killed eight people.

In Chester, Pennsylvania in April of 2016, an Amtrak from New York crashed into a backhoe that was providing maintenance on the tracks. This accident sent 41 people to hospitals and killed the two construction workers on site.

In December of 2017, an Amtrak in Washington was traveling faster than recommended and derailed, which caused passenger cars to be tossed from a bridge. This accident caused minor injuries to 100 people and killed three people.

In West Virginia in January of 2018, an Amtrak was carrying U.S. Congress members and crashed into a garbage truck at the railroad crossing. One person in the garbage truck was killed and there were no other reports of injury.

In February of 2018, an Amtrak in South Carolina crashed into a freight train that was parked while being rerouted on that side track. Two crew members were killed and 116 people were injured.

In Montana this past September, an Amtrak derailed taking the lives of three people.

According to the Amtrak website, stated on September 21, “Amtrak police and law enforcement officers unite[d] for [the] largest railroad safety initiative in [the] U.S.,” and it also mentions that “police and sheriff’s departments partner[ed] with Operation Lifesaver to reduce railroad-related deaths and injuries nationwide.”

Operation Clear Track was a part of the Rail Safety Week that took place September 20th through September 26th. There were 43 states that sent 500 police and sheriff departments to join Operation Clear Track along with the police of Amtrak for a safety mission.

The annual event just held its fifth Operation Clear Track and is “aimed at enforcing state grade crossing and trespassing laws while raising awareness on the importance of making safe choices near railroad tracks and crossings.”

The police involved in this event will go to “high-incident railroad crossings within their jurisdictions” to enforce the principles of Operation Clear Track.

The Executive Director of Operation Lifesaver, Rachel Maleh stated, “Every three hours in the U.S., a person or vehicle is hit by a train,” and continued with, “while we have made strides in reducing deaths and injuries, the goal of Operation Clear Track and other Rail Safety Week activities is empowering individuals and communities to make safe choices around railroad tracks and trains and raising rail safety awareness. We appreciate the ongoing safety partnership of the first responder community.”