Amtrak Train Derails in North Carolina After Hitting Tractor Trailer, at Least 40 Injured

Dozens injured after the train hit the tractor-trailer on the tracks.

ByABC News
March 9, 2015, 10:46 PM

— -- Investigators say 62 people were injured after an Amtrak train crashed into a tractor-trailer that was in the middle of the tracks in North Carolina shortly after noon, authorities said.

The State Highway Patrol reported that 21 passengers were transported to a nearby hospital by ambulance while 25 others were taken for treatment by bus, indicating that their injuries were less severe. According to EMS workers at the scene, all the injuries appeared to be minor.

There were 173 uninjured passengers who were taken by bus to to Richmond, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer has been identified as John Devin Black, of Claremont, N.C. and was not injured, authorities said, and the conductor of the Amtrak train has been identified as Keenan Talley, of Raleigh, N.C.

The Amtrak train operating from Charlotte to New York, "struck a vehicle on the tracks at a grade crossing approximately 30 miles north of Rocky Mount, N.C.," Amtrak said in a statement to ABC News. "There were 212 passengers and eight crew members on board and initial reports are that several passengers have been injured and taken to local medical facilities for treatment. At this time, none of the injuries have been reported as life-threatening. Local emergency responders are on the scene and an investigation is ongoing."

Video from the scene shows that at least one cabin of the train derailed and flipped over on its side. The Federal Railway Authority later clarified that two of the train's seven cars and the locomotive derailed.

The trailer that the train struck was 164 feet long and was transporting an electrical building.

A train crash in Halifax County, North Carolina, March 9, 2015.
A train crash in Halifax County, North Carolina, March 9, 2015.

A witness to the crash said that the tractor-trailer appeared to be lingering on the tracks while trying to make a difficult right turn.

Leslie Cipriani told the Associated Press that the tractor-trailer tried backing up several times but did not make it before the grade crossing's cross bars hit the vehicle.

"A preliminary investigation has revealed that the driver of the truck and trailer attempted to negotiate a left turn at the intersection of NC 903 and US 301 which was preceded by a railroad crossing," North Carolina State Highway Patrol said in a statement.

"Due to the trailer’s length, the driver was unable to perform the left turn successfully onto US 301 north. The driver began to reposition the trailer by backing up in order to perform a wider turn. At that moment, the rail road crossing warning equipment was activated indicating an approaching Amtrak train. The driver attempted to pull forward but was subsequently struck by the approaching train. The impact caused the front two train compartments to derail."

"There are active warning devices at this crossing," a Federal Railway Administration official told ABC News.

Amtrak officials said that people with questions about their friends and family aboard this train can call the following number for information: 800-523-9101.

This is a breaking news event. Please check back for updates.