(Metairie, Slidell, Vinton, Louisiana – April 20, 2011)
Two people died and another two were seriously injured in the Pelican State as Amtrak trains experience three separate accidents within a span of 15 hours Wednesday.
A semi-trailer truck carrying armored personnel carriers from the Textron plant in Slidell, LA became entrapped by vehicular traffic at a railroad crossing at the intersection of Front Street and Cleveland Street and about two-thirds of a mile south of Amtrak’s Slidell station, and was struck by Amtrak’s “Crescent”, travelling on Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks at 8:06 A.M. The accident derailed both locomotives and three cars of the train, which was on its way from New Orleans to Atlanta and beyond, and was carrying 65 passengers and a crew of 13. The truck and its load were demolished, with the truck driver suffering moderate injuries and a passenger aboard the train, as well as four train crew members, receiving minor injuries. The full story can be found here.
Wednesday evening in Calcasieu Parish near Vinton, LA. 36-year-old Cristal LaPointe was killed and a 19-year-old man injured when they were hit by Amtrak’s westbound “Sunset Limited” near the intersection of Highways 109 and 90 West. The tow were walking in a group with three other people near the Union Pacific Railroad tracks at 6:30 P.M. LaPointe, a resident of Vinton, died at the scene. The three other members of the group, ages 27, 14 and 5, were uninjured, and no injuries to the crew or passengers of the train were sustained. Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the locomotive’s nose-mounted camera would be used in the investigation of the tragedy. “We’re just trying to figure out what took place, why they were on the tracks, and why they couldn’t get off the tracks in time for the train,” said Sheriff Mancuso. The full story can be found here.
The third accident occurred in Metairie, LA shortly before 11:00 P.M. Wednesday night when Amtrak’s “City of New Orleans”, bound from Chicago to New Orleans with 100 passengers on board, struck and killed an as-yet unidentified female motorist, who allegedly drove around a lowered railroad crossing gate, at the Central Avenue crossing of Canadian National Railroad tracks. Witnesses indicated the warning signals at the crossing “appeared to be working.” Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s officers found a mangled 2002 Toyota Camry with its single occupant, a female, dead at the scene. For more informationon this tragic accident click here.