A Chicago-bound Amtrak train collided with a semitrailer Tuesday morning in northwestern Indiana, injuring several people, after a truck driver who believed he had enough time to clear the tracks pulled into the train's path, police said.
Fourteen passengers and crew members complained of pain after the collision and eight were taken to local hospitals for evaluation, although none suffered serious injuries, said Chief Deputy A.J. Alletto of the White County Sheriff's Department.
Alletto said 55-year-old Jeffrey B. Hatfield of Bedford, Indiana, miscalculated when he pulled onto CSX tracks into the path of the Indianapolis-to-Chicago Hoosier State line.
"He said he looked to the south, where the train was, and he thought he had plenty of time to get across the tracks. But obviously he did not," Alletto told The Associated Press.
Hatfield wasn't injured in the collision, which occurred at 8:20 a.m. about two miles north of the town of Reynolds, Alletto said.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the Hoosier State line was carrying 56 passengers and three crew members at the time. He said that shortly before the collision the train had left Lafayette, where it had picked up passengers in its second stop after leaving Indianapolis. The train had two more stops before reaching Chicago, he said. The remaining passengers later continued their journey to Chicago aboard charter buses.
The impact of the train cut the truck in half and left the train and the crossing site along U.S. 421 covered with gray dust from the load of powered cement the truck was hauling.
"The collision ripped the truck in half," White County Sheriff Pat Shafer said.
Local officials and CSX crews were assessing the spilled cement at the site, which Alletto said is not a hazardous material but could cause problems if it were to solidify along the tracks.
The Hoosier State rail line's future is uncertain as the state tries to meet a Feb. 1 deadline to turn the line over to a new operator.