Amtrak Wreck Witnesses - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/06/03

Amtrak Wreck Witnesses

The six-wheeled lumber truck was destroyed. The six-wheeled lumber truck was destroyed.
Working to clear the scene. Working to clear the scene.

WTOC was first on the scene this morning, after a truck hauling plywood was crossing a train intersection near Hinesville and pulled into the path of an Amtrak passenger train. The driver of the truck was killed instantly. Neighbors say the sound of the tragedy was unmistakable when it occurred around 7:30am.

"We heard two bangs or something, then two explosions,"  said witness Dorothy Wedincamp. "When I got to the window, I saw the fire."

"It's really dangerous, you know, we've got onto the kids about being up here near the railroad tracks playing," said Midway resident Lisa Pratt. "The trains fly through here constantly."

The truck's fuel burned ground around the crash. Firefighters put out the blaze as train crews evacuated passengers to safety. They then spent the afternoon repairing loosened rails and putting cars back on them. At the same time, the railroad and the state patrol started putting together pieces of an ugly puzzle. They're hoping to have trains back on the tracks as early as tomorrow morning.

Two members of the train crew, including the engineer, were injured. They were taken to Savannah, while others were taken to various area hospitals in Savannah and in Hinesville to Liberty Regional.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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