California crash injures at least 20
By Gosia Wozniacka, AP
October 3, 2012, 11:28 am TWN
HANFORD, California -- Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak passenger train carrying about 169 passengers derailed Monday after colliding with a big rig truck in California's Central Valley, authorities said.
At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries, authorities said.
The crash occurred when the driver of the tractor-trailer carrying cotton trash failed to yield and hit the train, authorities said. The impact pushed the two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks south of Hanford, a farming town. The train traveled about 600 feet (180 meters) after the collision before hitting a switchback and derailing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Harris.
Officials have not determined how fast the train or the truck were going, but the average speed for Amtrak through the area is 70 mph (113 kph) to 80 mph (129 kph), while the speed limit on the roadway where the truck was travelling is 55 mph (89 kph), Harris said.
Meanwhile, authorities were on the scene of a second accident involving a freight train and a tractor-trailer about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away.
In the second collision, which took place around 4 p.m., the truck driver suffered major injuries, according to the CHP.