Oxnard, CA: Stranded truck, driver flees, many injured

25 Feb

Update:

Police have said that the nature of their investigation has changed following the death of the train driver from injuries sustained in the collision.

A NTSB spokesperson has said that the truck was not stuck on the crossing at the time of the accident. It was stopped on the crossing with brakes applied.

End of update

Police in Oxnard, Ventura County, have confirmed that the truck hit by a Metrolink commuter train on February 24th, 2015, was stranded across the tracks when the collision occurred. Police have also confirmed that the truck driver who was not in the driving cab when the train hit the truck had been found 1.6 miles from the scene of the accident and that he was subsequently charged for a felony hit-and-run offence.

The collision is reported as having injured at least 28 people travelling on the train. Three passengers and the train driver are understood to be in a critical condition. The collision derailed the train, with three carriages turned onto their side. The there was an explosion at the point of impact which saw the truck engulfed in flames.

The accident occurred at approximately 05.40 adjacent to the automatic level crossing equipped with lights and barriers on South Rice Avenue at the intersection with East Fifth Street. It is not known how long the tractor and trailer unit had been stranded across the railway. However it is reported that the truck driver was trying to move clear of the railway when he saw the train, travelling at 79 mph, approaching. The train driver made an emergency brake application when he sighted the truck straddling the railway; but, was unable to stop short of the truck.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating this accident. The train was formed of modern rolling stock which, Metrolink has reported, performed well with all passengers contained within the vehicles that were turned on their side.

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