Amtrak train strikes dump truck in Orlando area, 1 dead

Amtrak train strikes dump truck in Orlando area, 1 dead

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy of Eddie Duvall Courtesy of Eddie Duvall

One person is dead and four were transported to area hospitals after an Amtrak train carrying 140 passengers struck a dump truck this morning just south of Orlando, authorities said.

The crash happened just after 11 a.m. near Orange and Nela avenues.

Orange County Fire Rescue treated 15 train passengers for minor injuries.  The driver of the dump truck, identified as 44-year-old Seeram Matadial, was killed.

"There was an explosion from the fuel on the truck, and I saw the fireball," said Robert Jones who lives nearby.  "I knew something really bad happened."

A fire caused by the crash was extinguished, and other passengers were temporarily sheltered at a nearby church. 

Orange Avenue was shut down for several hours from Sand Lake to Lancaster roads as authorities investigated the crash.  Orange County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jane Watrel said nothing hazardous was on the truck.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Matadial was traveling westbound on Glen Rose Ave., hauling rocks, when the southbound Amtrak slammed into the truck.   Witnesses told investigators that Matadial failed to stop at a stop sign before entering onto the tracks and drove into the direct path of the train. 

"The truck was in pieces," said witness Fernadez Rodriques.  "We started looking for the driver."

Matadial was ejected from the truck upon impact and died at the scene.  Troopers noted that the train was traveling below the posted speed limit at 60 mph when the collision occurred.

A State Department of Transportation spokesman said the intersection will be the future site of a SunRail stop.  Crossbars will be installed by 2014.

 

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