HINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) - An Amtrak train rammed a lumber truck at a dirt-road crossing in southeast Georgia on Tuesday, killing the truck driver and critically injuring the train engineer.
The six-wheel lumber truck pulled in front of the train at 7:25 a.m. in Liberty County, east of Hinesville, Georgia State Patrol spokesman Gordy Wright said. The locomotive and all 10 cars left the track, but they remained upright.
Train No. 91, known as the Silver Star, was traveling from New York to Miami with about 150 passengers and 14 crew members.
Twenty-three people aboard were injured, including the engineer, Amtrak said. Neither the engineer nor the truck driver were identified.
The road crossing is marked by standard railroad warning signs. There are no crossing gates at the dirt-road intersection.
Darren Hinzman, a U.S. Pentagon police officer, got on the train Monday in Alexandria, Va., bound for Disney World in Orlando, Fla. He said he was mixing cream and sugar in his coffee Tuesday morning when the train lurched.
"It felt like a really hard bump," said Hinzman, who was not injured. "Then I felt a crash. Chairs were falling forward, objects were falling."
Hinzman said he grabbed two fire extinguishers from the train and used them to put out the flames engulfing the lumber truck.
The Rev. Iona Locke, bishop of Abyssinia Church in Southfield, Mich., was going to Miami with 13 members of her congregation. She was asleep in her bunk when the accident happened.
"It threw us to the right and rocked us to the left. It threw the lady up above me out of her berth, and it threw me out of the bed against the wall. … It was just 'BOOM!' - like a big thunder," Locke said.
Mark Foster, who lives near the crash site, was getting into a pickup truck to take his 11-year-old son to school.
"We started the truck, and all of a sudden, we heard the train whistle one time, maybe a split second before hearing the impact," Foster said. "It was pretty loud, just sounded like an explosion."
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