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LEONI TOWNSHIP, MI – An Amtrak train collided with a tractor trailer and then derailed in Leoni Township, MI sending 10 people to the hospital on Wednesday, February 1, 2012.

Wreckage of an Amtrak train derailment in Leoni Township, MI where a westbound passenger train struck a tractor trailer that was stuck on the tracks. Photo credit: Rebecca Cook / Reuters

Leoni Township is located in Jackson County, Michigan about 44 miles southeast of Lansing, 32 miles west of Ann Arbor and about 5 miles northeast of Jackson.


The westbound Amtrak train carrying 68 passengers on its way from Ann Arbor, MI to Chicago, IL crashed into a tractor trailer that was stuck on the tracks. Ten people had to be hospitalized when the train derailed.

The accident happened around 8:19 a.m. at the Portage Rd. rail crossing in Leoni Township, just 5 miles outside of Jackson, MI. The truck was pulling a lowboy trailer and the crossing is on a slight incline in both directions because the tracks sit a a higher elevation than the roadway.

Map showing location of train derailment in Leoni Township, MI at the Portage Rd. rail crossing where an Amtrak passenger train crashed into a semi truck that was stuck on the tracks.

An article appearing in the Detroit News website reported on the story:

“The train made contact with a heavy vehicle in its path at a public highway crossing, causing the engine to come to rest on its side and the first two cars of the train to lose contact with the rails,” according to an Amtrak statement. “At the time of the incident, the train was westbound from Pontiac, Mich., to Chicago with 68 passengers, five crew members and a train consisting of two locomotives and six rail cars.”

The train’s engine plus one of the cars jumped the tracks in the collision. The truck driver plus one of the railroad workers on the train were injured along with several passengers. According to reports, none were fatalities and the injuries were said to be non life-threatening.

The trucker attempted to cross the tracks and did not make it all the way across due to the low ground clearance of the trailer. There are no details as to what transpired after the truck became stuck or how long it was sitting there before the train crashed into it.

In this type of situation, it is best for the trucker to call 911 so the authorities can notify the train ahead of time and give it enough room to stop and avoid a collision. It was reported that the train was moving at top speed, around 79 miles per hour at the time of the collision.

According to news reports, it is expected that the big rig driver will be cited for crossing the tracks without sufficient undercarriage clearance, causing the trailer to get stuck high centered across the tracks.

The tracks where the accident occurred are owned by Norfolk Southern Railway. The tracks were severely damaged at the accident site and will need to be repaired.

The accident is currently under investigation.

FELA Lawyer News Blog is a FELA, train accident and personal injury blog that publishes up to date train accidents, train derailments and FELA legal news from across the United States. The Federal Employers ‘Liability Act, (FELA) allows injured railroad workers to recover compensation based on the negligence of the railroad company, in lieu of workers’ compensation. FELA defines negligence as the railroad company’s failure to use reasonable care.

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