Trailer Stopped on Track Derails Los Angeles Commuter Train, Injures 51 People

Feb 24, 2015 02:34 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

A truck driver whose vehicle was stopped on a commuter train track in Oxnard, Calif., resulting in a collision that injured more than 50 people today, reportedly fled on foot before being taken into custody.

The commuter train headed for Los Angeles at 79 mph collided with the tractor trailer in the middle of rush hour Tuesday morning, Reuters reported.

The engineer slammed on the brakes but couldn't halt the train in time to prevent the collision, and four train cars were derailed, according to the Los Angeles Times. The crash occurred around 6 a.m. in Ventura County northwest of L.A.

"It was so quick, [one passenger] wasn't able to hold onto the table and he was thrown literally across the train," Bryan Wong, chief medical officer at Ventura County Medical Center, told the Times.

While there were no fatalities, 28 people had to be hospitalized and 23 people were treated for minor injuries at the scene. Those with injuries requiring hospitalization suffered "significant head, neck and back traumas or broken bones," according to Reuters.

The driver whose tractor trailer was on the track fled on foot and was brought into custody several miles away; it is not yet certain whether he will face charges, Oxnard City Fire Department spokesman Joe Garces told Reuters.

The collision follows a tragic Metro-North collision in New York three weeks ago, when a commuter train hit a car at a crossing and derailed. Six people were killed in the fiery crash, which marked the area's worst rail accident in decades, according to Reuters.

A Metrolink spokesman said that all of the emergency safety systems at the Oxnard crossing appear to have been working properly at the time of the accident. Personnel on the train anticipated the crash and put emergency protocols into effect before the impact, authorities said. 

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