LACKLAND, Florida (FloridaToday.news) — A semi-trailer that was hit by an Amtrak train in Lakeland on Friday night got stuck on the tracks shortly before the crash, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident happened around 7 p.m. Friday after a truck carrying seven cars in a trailer got stuck in the tracks while heading north on Canal Avenue, deputies said.
The Mega Millions jackpot rose again to $640 million, the 7th largest ever
As the truck was unable to clear the railroad crossing, an Amtrak train carrying 163 passengers and 10 crew members from Miami to New York approached the crossing at about 78 mph, the sheriff’s office said.
According to the report, Jacksonville train driver Ronald Webb blew a train horn after spotting a semi-trailer.
It was at that moment that the wishbones and lights came on, hitting the truck.
MPs said truck driver Valberto Carrazana Bermudez of Homestead and his passenger José Luis Lajera Vidal of Hialeah jumped out of the vehicle before the accident.
The Amtrak train collided with a truck and traveled about 200 yards before coming to a stop, according to the sheriff’s office. An incident report released on Saturday said the front of the engine derailed and there was a small diesel leak.
Eight people received minor injuries in total. Seven victims were taken to the hospital by ambulance, and one person was taken by private vehicle.
“It’s a real miracle that no one was seriously injured in this accident,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “The collision of a passenger train with a semi-trailer could have been much worse. We sympathize with those who have suffered. I don’t think I could say enough about the incredible response and the combined efforts of all the agencies involved.”
After the crash, Amtrak took passengers and crew to Tampa by bus. As for Bermudez, he received a ticket for insufficient permission at a level crossing.
US 92 and Canal Avenue North were closed for approximately 10 hours while first responders cleared the scene. In total, the damage from the incident amounted to 6 to 10 million dollars.