The state trooper escort and the truck driver involved in Monday’s Amtrak collision in Halifax, North Carolina did not follow proper protocol, according to a formal official from the Federal Railroad Administration.
The oversized load was accompanied by a trooper, who was in charge of clearing their routes and informing the railroad dispatchers of the truck’s activity. This is standard protocol, according to Steve Ditmeyer, a former Federal Railroad Administration official.
Protocols May Have Been Ignored Leading Up To Accident
CSX has not yet said whether they received a call or not regarding the truck on the tracks, stating that the investigation into the accident should produce more answers.
Eyewitness Amber Keeter was stuck in traffic behind the truck just before the accident. She told the Associated Press that the driver and trooper spent 15 to 20 minutes trying to negotiate the left turn across the tracks. Keeter said she rolled down her window and asked the flag man if they could make a call to stop the trains, but Keeter reported that “he said he didn’t think so”. Keeter told the AP that when the railroad lights started blinking, the truck driver tried to gun it (unsuccessfully) across the tracks. She said the driver jumped out of the cab seconds before impact.
For decades, there has been a 1-800 number posted on the poles that hold the flashing lights that reaches CSX dispatch.