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Amtrak train en route to Dallas hits 18-wheeler

AUSTIN --  An Amtrak passenger train hit a home mover's box truck transporting at least one car in Hutto , near the intersection of State Highway 130 and State Highway 79, just before 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm said the train was the Texas Eagle , en route from San Antonio to Chicago. A total of 211 passengers were on board the train, which was making its way from Austin to Dallas at the time of the accident. An additional 14 Amtrak employees were on board the train.

Michael Knight of the Department of Public Safety said the engineer attempted to blow its whistle as it approached the crossing, where an 18-wheeler transporting a car was on the tracks. The driver of the 18-wheeler was ejected and is in critical condition at Williamson Seton Hospital. His name has not been released.

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"Out of nowhere, just pow," explained passenger Bailey Roberts who was on his way to Dallas.  "Then, I saw a body through the window."

Two additional passengers on the train complained of minor injuries but refused treatment. DPS also reported a minor diesel fuel spill occurred when the 18-wheeler was hit.

"We didn't go into panic or disarray," said passenger  Tabitha Tower. "But, the fumes from the diesel, it was just a lot."

Passengers on the train were being evacuated, taken by five Hutto ISD school buses to Hutto Baptist Church. From there, Amtrak will arrange alternate transportation, Kulm said. Amtrak will spend this afternoon clearing the scene and repositioning the train on the tracks.

Local law enforcement will be conducting the investigation of the accident. The Federal Railroad Administration may or may not choose to initiate an investigation into the accident. Both Amtrak and Union Pacific, which owns the track, will be required to file paperwork with federal authorities.

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