MOORPARK, Calif. — An Amtrak train carrying almost 200 passengers struck a county water truck and derailed on Wednesday in Southern California, critically injuring the truck’s driver, authorities said.
Three of the train’s seven cars went off the tracks following the collision in Moorpark, said Ventura County Fire Department Captain Brian McGrath. The derailed train cars remained upright on tracks adjacent to an orchard and bare sections of land.
Fourteen people on the train were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, while the truck driver was taken to a trauma center with a head injury, McGrath said.
Parts of the demolished Ventura County Public Works truck were scattered all around the derailed train cars. McGrath initially said the truck’s driver was believed to have gotten out of the vehicle before the crash, but later clarified that the circumstances leading up to the wreck weren’t known.
“No one’s talked to him, so the whole situation is still being investigated,” he said.
Mindy Faver was seated facing the rear of the train after a trip with her mother, Shari Peterson, returning from visiting family in Oregon.
“All of a sudden: Smack!” Faver said, describing the impact. Then Faver saw what she later found out was the water truck’s tank tumbling past her window.
Most of the passengers were able to get off the train cars on their own or with the aid of first responders, McGrath said. TV news helicopters showed numerous people, many carrying luggage, milling about in a field as firefighters worked the scene.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Faver told the Ventura County Star.