A Friday morning collision between an Amtrak train and an 18-Wheeler in Acadia Parish resulted in 14 people being sent to area hospitals with minor injuries. According to preliminary reports, the accident occurred around 10 a.m. when a semi carrying grain in its trailer crossed over a railroad crossing and was struck by the six-car Amtrak train. The collision split the grain trailer in two and left debris on both sides of the tracks.
The Acadia Parish sheriff's department is investigating the train and truck collision, but at this time, the cause the accident is unknown. The driver of the truck claimed he stopped before the railroad crossing and looked both ways before proceeding. However, at least one passenger on the train claims to have heard the train conductor blowing the train whistle for a full 30 seconds before the crash.
At the location of the accident, the normal track speed has been reported to be about 70 miles per hour. The exact speed of the train at the time of the crash is not available at this time, but an Amtrak representative indicated that if the train were moving at normal speeds, it would have been impossible for it to stop in time to avoid a collision. Initial reports did not indicate whether the railroad crossing included gates as well as warning lights.
At the time of the crash, the Amtrak train was reportedly carrying 96 passengers as well as 10 employees. Fourteen of the train occupants were taken to area hospitals for injuries that were considered not life threatening. The truck driver was also taken to the hospital, but was reportedly not injured. According to the sheriff's department, the truck driver was to provide samples for toxicology tests.
In crashes involving commercial vehicles, it is routine for drivers to be tested for the presence of drugs or alcohol whenever a crash occurs. In addition to testing the truck driver, the train tracks and the railroad crossing will also be the subject of an investigation. The sheriff's office indicated that a citation will be issued when the investigation is completed, but could not say which party would most likely receive the citation.
Train, 18-wheeler collide (The Daily Advertiser)