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Eighteen Wheeler knocks out Amtrak train in Paradis
Collision sent debris flying across Old Spanish Trail
By M. Susanne Hinkle -   Jun 22, 2006

Only a hour into their trip, passengers of the Sunset Limited were rocked from their seats when the train struck a pick-up.
Alfonso Bresciani
Only a hour into their trip, passengers of the Sunset Limited were rocked from their seats when the train struck a pick-up.

An eighteen wheeler truck struck an Amtrak train, the Sunset Limited, headed for Los Angeles at about 1 p.m. on June 14. The incident sent three people to the hospital for minor injuries.

The driver of the tractor trailer, John M. Emanuel, of Breaux Bridge, was issued two citations including reckless operation and failure to yield at a railroad crossing.
This railroad crossing has proven deadly in the past, as in 1999, when a driver of a tractor trailer was struck by a train and killed while attempting to cross the private railroad crossing.

Emanuel’s truck was attempting to cross a private railroad crossing when he was struck by an oncoming train that was only one hour into its journey to its LA destination.

According to witnesses, the truck almost made it through the railroad crossing, but the train hit the truck's rear axle causing debris to fly across Old Spanish Trail. The railroad crossing did not have a crossing gate, but a sign is posted advising drivers to look both ways before crossing the tracks.

Three of the train's 55 passengers were taken to St. Charles Parish Hospital as a precautionary measure. And no one sustained major injuries.

One hundred gallons of hydraulic fluid and oil leaked onto the roadway when the train struck a mud pump that was being hauled by a tractor trailer.

The collision disabled one of the train's two locomotives causing considerable damage to left front side of the engine. The train left the damaged locomotive behind before setting off again to LA around 4 p.m. The collision caused Amtrak travelers a three hour delay.

“It is imperative that drivers use caution when crossing railroad tracks. Even when you think there is nothing coming, you should always look both ways before crossing,” said Sgt. Dwayne LeGrange of the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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