Amtrak back on schedule, no criminal charges filed in crash

Posted at 8:03 AM, Mar 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-10 13:29:44-04

HALIFAX, North Carolina -- Amtrak resumed its normal schedule Tuesday morning after a train and truck collided on the tracks in Halifax County, North Carolina on Monday. As passengers boarded trains in Richmond Tuesday, officials in North Carolina continued clean-up efforts and the investigation into Monday's crash.

CBS 6 talked with Steve Abbott with North Carolina Department of Transportation, Tuesday.  Abbott said, "This is the first time something like this has happened on those tracks.  This was a very large truck and we believe it could have made it over the tracks, but it was trying to make a turn.   The roads it  was traveling were permitted by the state for something that large."  Abott continued, "Now, our folks are getting together saying okay what could be changed to prevent this from happening again."

"The North Carolina State Highway Patrol was escorting an over-sized truck and trailer combination in Halifax, N.C. A preliminary investigation shows that the driver of the truck and trailer attempted to make a left turn at the intersection of NC 903 and US 301 which was preceded by a railroad crossing. Because of the trailer’s length, the driver was unable to clear the left turn successfully," the North Carolina Highway Patrol  released overnight. "Because of the trailer’s length, the driver was unable to clear the left turn successfully.  At that moment, the rail road crossing warning equipment was activated indicating an approaching Amtrak train. The driver attempted to pull forward but was subsequently struck by the approaching train. The impact caused the front two train compartments to derail."

The truck driver was identified as John Devin Black, of Claremont, N.C.  The conductor of the Amtrak train was identified as Keenan Talley, of Raleigh. At this time, no criminal charges have been filed in this crash. Fifty-five passengers were transported to Halifax Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. The remaining 157 passengers were bused Richmond and Washington, D.C.

Train crash video

Eyewitness Leslie Cipriani was headed home to Roanoke Rapids when she saw police blocking traffic. A tractor-trailer was stuck on the tracks, and Cipriani filmed the moment the train crashed into it.

"I saw a tractor trailer trying to make a right; he couldn’t do it," Cipriani said. “That’s when I heard the train coming. The crossing bar got caught on the truck. One person got out of the truck."

Cipriani said she felt safe inside her car, but she "has never seen anything like that before in my life."

"I am very, very thankful,” she said. “I’ve been praying since I got home."

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