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Victim Identified in Fatal Crash Between Amtrak Train and Vehicle

A collision between an Amtrak train and a vehicle in the small eastern Siskiyou County town of Dorris left one person dead on Tuesday.

Posted: Sep 27, 2018 3:54 PM
Updated: Sep 27, 2018 4:21 PM

DORRIS, Calif. —

UPDATE: Authorities have identified the woman killed in a crash between her vehicle and an Amtrak train in the Siskiyou County town of Dorris.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office says that 35-year-old Ashley Jennifer Hinson of Van Nuys, California was the "driver and solo occupant" of the vehicle.

(Updated 9/27/18 at 3:53 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: One person is dead following a collision between an Amtrak train and a vehicle in the small eastern Siskiyou County town of Dorris on Tuesday morning.

According to a statement from Amtrak, the Coast Starlight train 14 was on its way from Los Angeles to Seattle. The tracks run parallel to Highway 97 north of Macdoel until they reach the town of Dorris — where the tracks and Hwy 97 intersect.

Law enforcement received reports of the crash just before 8:30 a.m., with callers indicating that a vehicle was on fire at the railroad crossing at Hwy 97 and Railroad Avenue.

Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) Sergeant Abner Weed, firefighters and troopers with California Highway Patrol all responded to the scene. After investigating, they determined that a driver had been seen driving southbound on Hwy 97 at a "high-rate of speed" before running through the crossing gate and colliding with the train's engine as it passed through the crossing.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, and responders also found a dog dead in the vehicle after firefighters were able to extinguish the flames.

Investigators also determined that the railroad crossing arm barriers and signals had been working at the time of the crash.

The identity of the driver is being withheld at this time, pending the notification of next-of-kin, said SCSO.

“On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the decedent, family, associates, and friends," said Sheriff Jon Lopey.

There were no injuries to the roughly 210 passengers and crew aboard the train, and the train was only delayed for about 45 minutes, according to Amtrak. The railway says that their police have been cooperating with local law enforcement to investigate the incident.

In a statement, Amtrak also said the following:

Amtrak continues to work closely with Operation Lifesaver (OLI) to communicate the dangers of grade crossings. According to OLI, each year approximately 2,000 people are killed or injured in grade crossing and trespassing incidents nationwide. To raise public awareness in every community about staying off the tracks, we are collaborating with Operation Lifesaver. This collaborative national railroad safety initiative is one of several events which is being conducted this week from Sept. 23 – 29.

The incident is still under investigation and anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.

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