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Impaired truck driver blamed for Virginia train crash

One of the most serious consequences of a truck accident is the harm caused by the large size difference between the truck and the other vehicle. However, truck accidents are not limited to these situations. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that an impaired trash truck driver was likely responsible for a deadly crash with an Amtrak train last year.

On Jan. 31, 2018, a chartered Amtrak train comprised of six passenger cars and two café cars left Union Station in Washington D.C. carrying dozens of Republican House members, many of their family members and the Speaker of the House to a retreat. Near Crozet, Virginia, the train rounded a bend that may have hidden the trash truck from view. Railroad-crossing barriers dropped into place on a crossing three seconds before impact, warning lights flashed, and the train engineer sounded its horn 1,000 feet before the crossing. However, the truck driver drove around the lowered gate arm because he thought he had time to get over the tracks. The truck remained stopped on the tracks for reasons unknown to the NTSB.

The train crashed into the truck at a speed of 35 mph three seconds after the train engineer slammed on the brakes. It struck the truck’s left rear side, which made it rotate counterclockwise and crash into a railroad signal bungalow and a mailbox.

A passenger in the truck was killed, while another passenger suffered serious injuries after they were thrown from the truck. The 30-year-old driver received minor injuries. Four members of the train crew and three of its passengers also suffered injuries.

The NTSB concluded that the trash truck driver displayed poor judgment in driving around the barriers. It attributed this to the driver’s ingestion of marijuana and a prescription drug used for treatment of pain, seizures and anxiety.

Victims of an accident caused by a drug-impaired or drunk truck driver may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other losses. An attorney can assist with the filing of a lawsuit.

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