Dozens injured in Ventura County train derailment

February 24, 2015

Train derailmentA northbound commuter train hit a produce truck injuring 28 people Tuesday morning in Ventura County near Oxnard.

Rail cars skidded onto their sides and passengers were launched from their seats as the train struck the truck. Of the 49 people on board the train, 28 were taken to the hospital, some with head and neck injuries. Four people were critically injured including the engineer.

Shortly before 6 a.m., a 54-year-old man from Arizona accidentally drove the produce truck onto the tracks, and when he saw the train coming, he left the truck. An Oxnard police officer discovered the disoriented driver about a mile and a half from the accident. He was taken to a hospital for observation and later arrested on a felony hit-and-run charge.

When emergency personnel arrived, they found three train cars on their sides and the truck engulfed in flames. The investigation is ongoing.

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The driver from Arizona did have a valid Arizona driver’s license. The strange thing is that he had been driving down the railroad tracks and left his truck in the position to be hit head on by the train. How long he was on the train track or beside it is in question. He and his family have already given two versions of when he left his truck and ran off. He was located about a mile and a half from the scene, and had not attempted to call 911 or notify the police.

The article states the driver (Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez) ‘accidentally’ drove the vehicle onto the tracks. Well, that’s not what the spokesman for the NTSB says, and in fact, the driver has been arrested for felony hit and run. Additionally, according to the NTSB, the emergency brake was set at the time of impact. Why would Mr. Ramirez set the brake, and bail out of the vehicle? The NTSB goes on to state that the vehicle was not stuck or high centered. There’s a lot more to this story.