Road Worrier Blog

Prosecutors consider charges in Amtrak crash

A northbound Amtrak train collided with an oversized truck carrying an electrical building when the truck got stuck on the tracks at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 301 and NC Hwy 903 in Halifax, NC on March 9, 2015. Over 200 passengers were on the train bound for New York. Some were injured but N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Jeff Gordon said none of the injuries were life threatening. Here workers inspect damage to the overturned locomotive.
A northbound Amtrak train collided with an oversized truck carrying an electrical building when the truck got stuck on the tracks at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 301 and NC Hwy 903 in Halifax, NC on March 9, 2015. Over 200 passengers were on the train bound for New York. Some were injured but N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Jeff Gordon said none of the injuries were life threatening. Here workers inspect damage to the overturned locomotive. Raleigh

Prosecutors in Halifax County are studying State Highway Patrol reports to decide whether they will file criminal charges in connection with a March 9 rail crossing crash that involved a northbound Amtrak train.

The Amtrak Carolinian, with 212 passengers and 8 crew members aboard, struck a 164-foot-long truck that had stopped on the tracks on N.C. 903 in the town of Halifax. The collision knocked the locomotive and baggage car off the tracks, causing mostly minor injuries to 62 people on the train.

Keith Werner, an assistant district attorney for Halifax County, said Thursday he had received a crash report and a detailed collision reconstruction report from the Highway Patrol. The Federal Railroad Administration also is investigating the crash. The News & Observer reported incorrectly in August that the National Transportation Safety Board was investigating.

The crash occurred as a very long, very heavy “superload” truck, carrying electrical power equipment, was attempting to turn onto U.S. 301 near the CSX rail crossing.

The truck was escorted by a Highway Patrol trooper. Initial reports indicated that neither the trooper nor the truck driver warned CSX dispatchers that the truck had been sitting on the rail crossing for somewhere between five and 20 minutes. The Highway Patrol said the truck driver was responsible for contacting the dispatchers, who could have told the Amtrak engineer to stop the train before it reached the crossing at 58 miles per hour.

The crash report estimated damages at $500,000 for the truck and its cargo, and $2 million for the Amtrak train.

Bruce Siceloff: 919-829-4527, @Road_Worrier

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