FHP: 1 dead in Amtrak train, dump truck collision in Pine Castle
Updated On: Nov 30 2012 08:50:43 AM EST
A driver was killed Thursday morning when a Amtrak train carrying 140 passengers to Miami crashed into a dump truck in Orange County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The dump truck driver, Seeram Matadial, 44, of Orlando, was ejected and killed in the crash, which occurred about 11 a.m. at Orange Avenue and Nela Avenue in Pine Castle, south of Orlando.
According to the FHP, witnesses said Matadial did not stop at a stop sign and drove onto the tracks into the direct path of the train. The dump truck broke into several pieces in the crash, troopers said.
The train, Silver Star No. 91 traveling from New York to Miami, was carrying 153 people, including the board and crew, was traveling 60 mph but did not derail, according to the FHP.
Troopers said 10 train passengers were taken to three area hospitals with minor injuries. The train conductor, David Story, 57, of Jacksonville, was not injured, Orange County fire Lt. Eddie Brown said.
The Amtrak train departed Penn Station in New York City at 11:02 a.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to arrive in Miami at 6:05 p.m. Thursday.
The uninjured passengers were taken to a nearby church as authorities investigated the crash and were later loaded onto a bus and taken to an Amtrak station.
Fire officials said the dump truck, which was carrying rocks, burst into flames during the crash, but the flames were quickly extinguished.
Video from WKMG-TV's helicopter Sky 6 showed wreckage of the scene, with parts of the dump truck scattered across a debris field about a quarter-mile wide.
Since 2002, including Thursday’s crash, four drivers and a passenger have been killed in four separate crashes with Amtrak trains at the same crossing, according to Federal Railroad Administration records.
A stop sign stands on either side of the tracks, owned by the Florida Department of Transportation, but there are no lights or railroad crossing arms.
"This intersection is not traveled by many vehicles," FHP Sgt. Kim Montes said. "It's only used by vehicles going to the business behind the tracks. Drivers have a responsibility. If a train is coming, it has the right of way."
According to Amtrak, the Silver Star train connects New York City and Miami with stops at dozens of destinations in between.
More than 50 firefighters and 50 law enforcement personnel responded to the scene, officials said.
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