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Report: Amtrak train going 58 mph at time of NC truck collision in Halifax

An Amtrak train was going an estimated 58 mph when it plowed into a truck that was stuck at a crossing in Halifax and derailed last spring, according to a report the State Highway Patrol released Monday.

The report offers few new details about the crash, which took place March 9 and is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. The Associated Press reported Monday that state authorities are finishing a more detailed accident reconstruction report that will help them determine whether to pursue criminal charges in the case.

The Amtrak Carolinian was headed north carrying 212 passengers and eight crew members when it hit a supersize tractor-trailer truck carrying a large load on N.C. 903 in the town of Halifax. The 164-foot-long truck was stopped on the tracks as it attempted to make a left turn onto U.S. 301.

The train’s engineer, Keenan Talley, was going an estimated 70 mph when he came out of a curve, saw the truck and applied the brakes. The collision knocked the locomotive and baggage car off the tracks, causing mostly minor injuries to 62 people on the train.

Keenan and the driver of the truck, John Devin Black of Claremont, were not injured, according to the report. Neither was a state trooper and the drivers of two escort vehicles who were traveling with the truck at the time of the crash, state officials said earlier.

The crash did about $500,000 in damage to the truck and its cargo, a power equipment center built in Johnston County, according to the report. CSX railroad, which operates that stretch of track, estimated that the damage to Amtrak would cost about $2 million, according to the report.

Amtrak and CSX are suing the trucking company involved in crash, Guy M. Turner Inc. of Greensboro. The federal lawsuit filed in May says the company’s driver blocked the crossing despite safety signs and failed to notify CSX or Amtrak and that the company failed to take reasonable safety precautions.

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