A California commuter train en route to Los Angeles slammed into a Ford pickup truck Tuesday morning. Fifty people were injured in the collision as the train derailed and was engulfed in flames. Four of the victims suffered critical injuries.
Miraculously, the driver of the pickup truck did not suffer any injuries. Police say that he escaped the scene of the crash on foot. They later tracked him down over 1.6 miles from the crash site. Authorities said that the man was talking on his cellphone and appeared to be in distress when they located him. The 54-year-old truck driver was arrested and charged with felony hit-and-run.
The collision overturned three passenger train cars and derailed two. The wreckage of the twisted truck and the rail cars burned for hours following the crash.
Truck Was Not Stuck on the Tracks
At first, officials believed that the truck, which was towing a trailer loaded with wielding equipment, was trapped on the train tracks. However, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board informed reporters that the truck was not stuck, nor had its carriage bottomed out on the train tracks. The board member said that the truck had driven about 80 feet on the tracks before it was hit.
Police suspect that the driver took a wrong turn onto the tracks and he may have been confused by the early-morning darkness. Police do not suspect that the driver drove onto the tracks on purpose. After arresting the man they performed tests to see if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision, but the test results have yet to be released.
The crossing where the crash occurred is known to be a dangerous one. The Metrolink train crosses a busy avenue, where big farm trucks and transportation trucks frequently pass. One man who works nearby said that the train warning lights illuminate too late and it is not a safe crossing.
Who Is Liable for This Crash
The people who suffered injuries in this collision will no doubt have viable claims for damages in this case. Whether the train company, the pickup truck driver or some other party or parties are liable for personal injury damages relating to the crash, however, will likely be revealed after authorities complete their investigations into the incident.
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