Another weird moment for Amtrak.
- DepotNews.com NewsWire
Fan train pulverizes house crossing tracks Minor injuries to 3 on train, 2
Source: The News Tribune Tacoma, WA
Publication date: 2000-12-25
As disappointed Seattle Seahawks fans settled in for a three-hour train ride
to Portland late Saturday, a crew moving a house inched along a road north
Shortly after 10:50 p.m., the Amtrak train zipped past the King- Pierce
County line at more than 70 mph. Moments later, the operators spotted the
house straddling the railroad tracks along Eighth Street East.
The crew slammed on the emergency brakes but could not slow down quickly
At 10:58 p.m., the train rammed into the four-bedroom house, tearing it in
half and throwing two men on its roof into a ditch. The house splintered,
leaving debris strewn across a field and the road.
An off-duty Pierce County sheriff's deputy was directing traffic during the
moving of the house, said Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.
Five people, including the two men, suffered minor injuries. Troopers
arrested the driver of the semitractor-trailer hauling the house on
suspicion of drunken driving and driving with a suspended license, Amtrak
and the Washington State Patrol reported.
Troopers took the 45-year-old Auburn man to a nearby State Patrol office and
later released him, Lt. Dan Eikum said.
Eikum did not release the man's blood-alcohol level, pending further
investigation. Under state law, anyone driving a commercial vehicle must
have a blood-alcohol level of less than 0.04 percent, as compared with 0.08
for drivers of private cars and pickup trucks.
Paramedics took the two men, ages 25 and 31, to Auburn Regional Medical
Center for treatment of cuts and bumps. The men had been riding on the roof
to lift up power lines as the house passed under traffic signals on its way
to Eatonville from Bonney Lake, Eikum said.
"They were lucky," he said.
Two Amtrak passengers and one employee suffered minor injuries in the wreck,
Amtrak spokesman Kevin Johnson said. All were treated and released from Good
Amtrak bused the rest of the 94 passengers and five crew members aboard
train No. 757, a Seahawks football special, to Portland shortly after the
The company took the damaged train out of service.
"There was no reason for that thing to be on the tracks," Johnson said.
The two men and semitractor-trailer driver had the necessary permits to move
the house, Eikum said. They were headed west on Eighth Street East, just
west of the East Valley Highway.
The Eighth Street East crossing is marked with gates and lights, Johnson
said. The posted speed limit for trains is 79 mph.
The train left Seattle at 10:20 p.m., after the Seahawks lost to the Buffalo
Bills in the last Seattle game of the football season. The train was
scheduled to arrive in Portland at 2:35 a.m.
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* Staff writer Stacey Burns covers Pierce County crime and safety issues.
Reach her at 253-597-8268 or stacey.burns@....
Publication date: 2000-12-25
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