JACKSON (WWJ) – Many passengers were asleep Wednesday morning when an Amtrak train collided with a semi trailer and derailed on its way from Pontiac to Chicago.
There are no reports of life-threatening injuries from Amtrak passengers or crew from the incident involving Amtrak Wolverine Service Train 351 in Leoni Township, east of Jackson.
WWJ Newsradio 950’s Patti Vitale reported that passengers were bumped around a bit when the train, traveling westbound, crashed into a semi truck stuck on the tracks at a crossing at Portage Street and Michigan Avenue.
WWJ spoke live with Sgt. Richard White of Blackman Township/Leoni Public Safety, who said they were called to the scene shortly after 8 a.m.
“We had five or six what would appear to be non-life-threatening minor injuries. They were transported to Allegiance (hospital),” said White. “And the driver of the semi was also transported. Again, it appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.”
White said it didn’t immediately appear that the truck driver, who told police his vehicle was somehow caught on the tracks, was at fault in the accident.
Amtrak officials said in a statement that the collision caused the engine to come to rest on its side and the first two cars of the train to lose contact with the rails. At the time of the incident there were 68 passengers and five crew members aboard the train, which consisted of two locomotives and six railcars.
A witness talking to the Jackson Citizen Patriot said passengers were just dozing when all of a sudden they felt a huge impact and there was a lot of grinding of metal on metal before everything went silent. (More photos from the Jackson Citizen Patriot here.)
Wrote another passenger on Facebook, “Wow! On my way to see my daughter and grandson son on the amtrak and we hit a semi, derail, I almost break my spine. Now I’m in the hospital.”
Meantime, with service suspended across central Michigan, Amtrak announced plans to provide alternate transportation in both directions for passengers between Ann Arbor and Jackson for the remainder of Wednesday. Amtrak was expected to Wednesday night announce an plan for service on Thursday.
Amtrak customers are asked to call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for the latest information.