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Amtrak train derails near Blackwell

BLACKWELL – One-hundred and three Amtrak passengers made an unexpected detour near Blackwell late Wednesday night. According to officials with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, the engine portion of the train derailed and went on its side, bringing the passengers’ ride from Chicago to San Antonio to a halt.

“We are still unsure as to what exactly happened, but there was some debris on the tracks and the rails gave way,” said Capt. Ralph Brown of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. “We are not sure if the rain caused it. The engine went on its side and the second car tilted a little bit. The additional cars stayed upright.”

Brown said most of the passengers were not injured.

“We were extremely lucky, all of the injuries were not life-threatening,” Brown said. “Those who were injuries were taken by ambulance to Jefferson Memorial Hospital. The rest of the passengers were taken by ambulance to De Soto Rural No. 1. Once the passengers were checked they boarded a chartered bus and were taken to a local hotel.”

Brown said the derailment occurred at approximately 11:15 p.m. near the end of Wilson Hollow Road between Blackwell and De Soto.

“The ironic thing is I actually started receiving call from the new media about this first, because passengers who had cell-phones on board the train were calling their relatives and the media,” Brown said.

Brown attributed the train’s speed of 45-miles-per-hour to the limited number of injuries.

“I can’t say enough how lucky we were,” Brown said.

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