3 dead after pickup truck struck by train in western New York

Train crossing

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Three people were killed Friday night after their vehicle was struck by an Amtrak train in western New York, authorities said.

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The impact of the crash, in the Buffalo suburb of North Tonawanda, “folded the car in half,” witness Chrissy Galla Reid told The Buffalo News on Saturday.

According to a news release from Capt. Daryl Truty of the North Tonawanda Police Department, the crash occurred at 7:56 p.m. A Dodge pickup truck was trapped between a pair of railroad gates and was struck by a northbound Amtrak train near the intersection of River Road and Felton Street, the News reported.

The train’s momentum dragged the vehicle almost to the next stoplight at Ward and River roads, firefighters said.

Truty said the victims included a 69-year-old man, a 66-year-old woman and a 6-year-old boy. Their names have not yet been released by officials, WIVB-TV reported.

Reid, of Kenmore, and Francisco Dejesus, 27, of Erie County, said that several vehicles from an earlier police stop on the east side of the tracks on Felton Street had prevented the driver of the blue pickup from proceeding forward, according to the News.

Before the truck could turn around, it was sandwiched between the railroad gates, they told the newspaper.

The driver of the pickup tried to back up after the gates came down, but not with enough force to break them, Reid said.

“It happened in a split second,” Dejesus told the News.

“The car was backing up, but it was almost like they just felt trapped by the guard rails and wouldn’t bust through them,” Reid told WIVB. “The train hit on impact and it was just not that far from me and when it hit, the blue truck just folded around the train.”

A spokesperson with Amtrak said the train was traveling from New York City toward Niagara Falls, WRGB-TV reported. The spokesperson added that none of the 21 passengers on the train were injured, according to the News.

An investigation is ongoing, Truty said. Amtrak is also assisting in the investigation, the newspaper reported.

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