Hanford train crash: Some 39 passengers were injured Monday when a big-rig plowed through a railroad crossing in Hanford and slammed into an Amtrak train. The train derailed.
• An Amtrak train with 169 passengers aboard was passing through a crossing.
• The crossing arms were down, the lights were flashing, and bells were sounding.
• A big-rig plowed through the gate and slammed into the train, causing it to derail. 39 passengers were injured.
• The truck driver suffered a head injury and was hospitalized. Investigators didn’t yet know why he crashed through the gate.
The truck, a 2000 Freightliner, was driven by 42-year-old Macario Medina of McFarland, the Fresno Bee reported.
California Highway Patrol Officer Jerry Pierce said the crossing arms were down and the train was partially through the intersection at Kansas and 10th avenues when the big-rig plowed through the gate.
Lights were flashing and bells were ringing as the big-rig slammed into the four-car train between the locomotive and the last car.
The train traveled about 600 feet, where it hit a switchback and derailed, the CHP said. The locomotive and two double-deck cars toppled over (see photo) and passengers had to grab seat backs and tables to try to keep from falling.
“It was scary. Everybody was tossed around,” passenger Andrea King of Sacramento told the Hanford Sentinel. “We didn’t know if anybody was going to make it out.”
Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham told KTVU News said 39 people were injured in the crash. The injuries range from minor to moderate. Graham said at least one person suffered a broken leg.
Investigators were still trying to determine why Medina, the truck driver, did not stop at the crossing. He was pinned inside his shattered cab for about an hour and suffered a head injury, according to the Fresno Bee report. Paramedics transported him via ground ambulance to a hospital. Pierce said CHP officers had not interviewed him as of Tuesday morning.
The train originated in Oakland and was headed for Bakersfield, Graham said. Passengers who were not hospitalized were taken to the Hanford Civic Auditorium and were eventually taken by charter bus to destinations in Corcoran, Wasco, and Bakersfield.
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