Amtrak train collides with tow truck hauling car off tracks in University City

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Police are investigating the sequence of events that led to a collision early Friday between an Amtrak train and a tow truck in the University City area.

The collision happened sometime around 3:30 a.m. at the intersection of Old Concord Road and McLean Road.

Officials told Channel 9 an Amtrak train carrying 193 passengers hit the truck as it was towing a car off the tracks.

Police said they got a call about the tow truck on the tracks around 2:30 a.m. but an hour later, they got another call about a train plowing into it.

Passengers on the train reached out to Channel 9, and claim the police were on the scene with the tow truck before the impact. They wondered why the track was not closed.

One passenger on his way to Philadelphia for a family reunion said he saw police in place before the collision, sometime after 3 a.m. He said the train had just made a stop in Charlotte about 15 minutes before hitting the truck.

“I saw blue lights up ahead, but we were still going the full speed," said the passenger. "And then there was kind of a quick jolt, and the train hit the brakes suddenly and came to a sudden halt.”

The passenger said he thinks authorities could have done more to prevent the crash.

"Somewhere somebody forgot to do something because we hit that vehicle full speed," the passenger said.

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Police have not confirmed any of those accounts but told Eyewitness News that they were investigating the sequence of events.

Amtrak officials told Channel 9 that Train 20 was heading from New Orleans to New York and hit the tow truck at 3:27 a.m. No injuries were reported and the train resumed its travel just before 6 a.m.

"Had it been worse, it could have thrown us off the track. It could have been a lot more serious than what it was, and I'm very grateful that it wasn't," said the passenger.

McLean Road was closed, and officials have not said when they expect the area to reopen.

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