(Tenino, Washington – July 28, 2012)
Two adults and two children, riding in a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck, are” very, very lucky to be alive”, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Guy Gill, who was one of several law enforcement and emergency personnel who responded to a collision between the vehicle and an Amtrak passenger train at the dangerous, unguarded crossing of a private drive and BNSF railroad tracks in Tenino, WA Saturday afternoon.
Trooper Gill indicated that “The train struck the frontal area of the pickup; three feet the other way and we would be dealing with multiple fatalities right now.”
The Amtrak train, one of over 50 trains which traverse the double-tracked crossing daily at speeds of up to 79 mph, was operating at the maximum allowable track speed when it struck and totaled the vehicle, which may have been attempting to turn around near the crossing and was sideswiped by the train, knocking the pickup onto its side according to Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Greg Elwin.
The crossing, which experienced another injury accident on April 6, 2010, has no signage or signal protection such as flashing lights, bells or crossing gates which have been proven to be 90% effective at preventing accidents such as this.
The injured victims were rushed to a local hospital for treatment of various multiple injuries.