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Big rig hits train in the middle
Amtrak Train traveling 70 mph prior to collision
The investigation into the collision of a semi truck hauling cotton trash and an Amtrak train continues, said Officer Bryan Savage, California Highway Patrol.
The collision occurred at approximately 12:22 p.m. Monday at the Santa Fe Rail Road crossing, which has lights and bells, on Kansas Avenue just west of 10th Avenue in rural Kings County when the train was struck by the big rig, causing the train to derail the engine and two cars, an approximate 200 yards from the crossing.
“At this time there have been no charges made against the driver but the investigation continues,” Savage said.
The driver of the truck, Macario Medina, 32, of McFarland, sustained moderate injuries and was transported to Adventist Medical Center in Hanford, reported Jerry Pierce, CHP Hanford Area Public Information Officer.
Christine Pickering, hospital spokesperson for Adventist, said Medina was not admitted.
The semi-truck hit the middle of the Amtrak unit, which consisted of an engine and four cars, which was traveling southbound, having just left Hanford.
“It hit the very middle, the third car from the front,” Savage said. “You have to understand, the train was traveling backwards — the engine was in the back, facing north bound. The truck hit two cars in prior to the engine.”
According to Amtrak spokesperson Vernae Graham, Amtrak Train 712 was traveling at a safe speed.
“It was traveling at 70 miles per hour,” Graham said. “The maximum on those tracks is 79 miles per hour.”
It had left Oakland at 7:30 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Bakersfield at 1:41 p.m.
“There were 39 injured,” Graham said. “None of them were life threatening.”
The engineer and crew were not injured, she said.
Uninjured passengers were bused, via Hanford Unified School buses, to the Hanford Civic Auditorium, where they were interviewed and released onto Amtrak commute buses, reported CHP Officer Matthew Radke, public information officer, Fresno.
“Of those waiting, all but two were transported,” Graham said. “The two had relatives in Hanford who picked them up.”
Crews worked through the night and the tracks reopened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Graham said.
According to the Central Valley Transportation Management Center, the derailed train caused damage to the track for an approximate half mile south of the collision scene, prompting the stopping of all train service through the area.
CHP Hanford Area continues to investigate with the assistance of the Kings County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies.
Kansas Avenue between 10th Avenue ad 10 1/2 Avenue is expected to remain closed during the investigation.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.