Report: Truck hit by train in Crozet was on tracks after gates came down

By  | 

CROZET, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the fatal crash between an Amtrak train and a garbage truck in Crozet, saying the truck tried to cross the tracks after the warning gates came down.

A former Buckingham Branch employee said that he's witnessed this happening before.

"I've seen it, everyone has seen it, other crews have seen it," said Jack Yowell, who worked on the railroad as an engineer for 40 years. "You see [cars] go around the gates everyday you work."

The crash occurred on Jan. 31 when a special Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress to their annual retreat in West Virginia hit the truck, in which there was one driver and two passengers.

According to the report, witnesses told officials that the truck entered the crossing after the warning gates came down.

The crossing has warning signs, pavement markings, crossbuck signs, warning lights, bells and gates.

The NTSB says the lead locomotive on the train had a forward-facing track image camera, which showed that as the crossing came into view, the gates were down and the truck was on the crossing.

Early information from the train's onboard recorder also indicate the train was going 61 miles per hour when the engineer applied the emergency brake.

The train hit the left rear of the truck, which caused the truck to turn around counterclockwise and hit a railroad signal bungalow next to the tracks.

The refuse body of the truck separated from it, and the two passengers were ejected.

The NTSB says the front axle of the lead locomotive derailed as the train continued moving, but it remained upright.

Due to the crash, one of the truck passengers, identified as Christopher Foley, was killed and the other was seriously injured. The driver suffered minor injuries, as did three members of the Amtrak crew and three passengers on the train.

The NTSB is still investigating this crash, and the report will be updated as more information is gathered. At this time, probably cause has not yet been determined.

To read the full report, click on the link in the Related Links box.

Read the original version of this article at