FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A man and a woman inside a dump truck were killed Saturday afternoon when it burst into flames after it was struck by a Trinity Railway Express train. The crash also left several people hurt, including two critically.
The two people who died were identified as 49-year-old Arnell Tolliver and 50-year-old Charlene Alexander.
“I saw flames right by my window,” said passenger Santos Vargas.
Vargas said riders were panicked and confused in the chaos after the train crashed into the dump truck. Chopper 11 video showed the sides of the train with broken windows and burn marks.
“It’s a pretty scary event. I was a bit shaken at first. I’m calm now. It’s my first time riding the train down to Fort Worth. I was going on a little adventure. This is not the kind of excitement I was looking for,” said Vargas.
The transit spokesperson claims the truck driver went around the crossing arm. Officials haven’t said why the truck was on the tracks after the lights flashed a warning and the bell rang.
“It looks like someone stopped intentionally or couldn’t navigate the turn and were caught up in a poor decision that they made,” said Ken Jenkins, a crisis response strategist. “What we also know, looking from the impact and the debris field — even as they slowed down, the speed as significant enough to not only completely destroy the truck but also to blow the windows out on the train.”
Investigators are still looking into how fast the train was going at the time of the crash. The authorized speed is 79 mph.