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Woman injured in Nevada train accident says she was lucky

A woman who survived the recent collision in Nevada of a semi-truck and Amtrak train says that she almost was one of the victims. She awoke in the train car she was assigned to and spent the morning meditating and praying. Then she left the car to clean up and change and then headed toward a car at the back of the train. According to the Contra Costa Times, soon after walking away from her car, the woman watched the semi-truck slam into the train car she was supposed to be in.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators do not know yet why the driver of the semi-truck ignored warnings that a train was crossing the highway. The driver did not hit the breaks in his truck until he was about 300 feet from the train. He could not stop the truck in time at that point and skidded through the safety gate and into the train, causing a fiery crash. Five people died in the train and the 43-year-old truck driver also died. Twenty people suffered injuries in the accident.

Lawsuits have been filed against the Nevada truck company that employed the driver. The lawsuits claim the company was negligent in their hiring and training of the driver. Lawsuits were filed by Amtrak and two Amtrak employees who were injured in the crash. A wrongful death lawsuit has also been filed by the husband of a woman who was killed in the crash and also on behalf of the couple’s adopted daughter who was killed.

According to the Contra Costa Times, the woman was on her way home from Illinois, where she had been visiting her mother in a nursing home. She said that the crash seemed like a movie, with smoke and fire and people jumping out of the train to escape. The woman injured her leg, but was not as seriously injured as other people. She lost her credit card, keys and wallet and cannot retrieve her other belongings until the NTSB’s onsite investigation is complete.

Source: Contra Costa Times, Memories of Amtrak crash remain with Antioch woman, Paul Burgarino, 9 July 2011

John P. Aldrich
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