WHITE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI/AP) - An Amtrak train that left Indianapolis Wednesday morning never made it to its destination of Chicago. Two were injured when the train hit farming equipment just west of Monon, Ind.
The train departed from Indianapolis, according to Amtrak officials. They say the train collided with a farming tractor carrying chemicals just after 8:30 a.m.
According to county Sheriff Pat Shafer, the train and farm equipment crashed at a railroad crossing at White County Road 200 West and State Road 16, just west of Monon, Ind.
In a press release from just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sheriff Shafer said the investigation shows the John Deere tractor was pulling a field applicator and a tank north on County Road 200 West. The train was westbound on the tracks.
Sheriff Shafer says as the tractor crossed over the railroad tracks, the crash occurred.
The driver of the farm equipment was taken to IU Health White Memorial Hospital for his injuries. That driver has been identified as 40-year-old David Allen of Reynolds, Ind.
Amtrak officials say none of the 89 passengers on board were injured. Sheriff Shafer says the train's engineer was not seriously injured, but that engineer was also transported to IU Health White Memorial Hospital.
A man whose wife was on the Amtrak train confirmed to News 18 the train had hit a tractor of some kind.
White County Emergency Management Director Dean Mullens said the equipment was hauling a 1,000-gallon tank of anhydrous ammonia, a farm fertilizer that becomes toxic when airborne. He says the tank is upright and not leaking.
The train was en route to Chicago. Sheriff Shafer says the extent of damage done to the train meant it could not continue on its route. He said the fertilizer tank's front axle was damaged, as was the front of the train.
Sheriff Shafer said the passengers were taken by buses to the Monon Fire Department. There, according to Amtrak officials, they boarded charter buses that would take them the rest of the way to Chicago.
Sheriff Shafer said it's clear that everyone involved was very fortunate the tank didn't release its potentially deadly pressurized contents.
"You have a train loaded with passengers, you have the farmer himself and then you have the emergency personnel responding to the scene, so we're very lucky," Shafer said.
The tank separated from the tractor at the time of impact and remained on the CSX tracks, while the tractor continued into a nearby ditch.
Shafer said that workers from a fertilizer company were examining the tank.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the train involved in the collision is called the Hoosier State, which usually makes four trips a week between Indianapolis and Chicago.
Assisting in the investigation: White County Sheriff's Office, Indiana State Police (accident reconstructionist), Monticello Fire/Rescue/Ambulance Service, Monon Town Marshal, Monon Township Volunteer Fire Department/First Response, White County Emergency Management Agency and White County Fire Department's Hazmat Team.
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