Man survives after his pickup truck is torn in half by train – open bottle of beer inside it was “unscathed”

February 19, 2009

(ChattahBox) — A train and truck crash severed an Ortonville Michigan man’s pickup truck in half, but the driver who was believed to be drinking (you think), Christopher Mark LaLone, 46, walked away with only minor injuries. LaLone told police the railroad crossing arms weren’t down when he entered the track. Investigators suspect LaLone was trying to beat the train and traveled around the guards.  Fortunately the 20 passengers and engineer aboard the Amtrak train weren’t hurt.“He is lucky to be alive,” said Lapeer County Undersheriff Bob Rapson, of LaLone.

“The crew reports the crossing gates and lights were working normally,” said Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari, of the Chicago office. “This was not an accident. The term accident suggests it was unavoidable, and it was. The driver should have paid attention to the warnings of the upcoming train and the crossing gates and arms.”

LaLone was inside his truck on the tracks at the Elba Road crossing when the Amtrak three-car and two-locomotive train crashed into the vehicle about 9:48 p.m.

“The normal speed for passenger trains in that area is 65 mph,” said Canadian National Railway spokesperson Patrick Waldron.

LaLone’s truck was sliced in two after impact; the bed portion separated from the cab. A person at the scene called 9-1-1 after the crash; at that time the conditions of passengers and LaLone were unknown.

LaLone had minor visible injuries. He was transported by Patriot Ambulance to Hurley Medical Center, said Lapeer County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Karl Sapp, who is investigating the incident. LaLone had been discharged by Tuesday, said a hospital spokesperson.

The train suffered minor damages and continued on its way to a Port Huron destination after a 41 minute delay. Alcohol played a factor in the crash, but test results are not yet back to determine the amount consumed by LaLone. His truck was destroyed, but an open 40 ounce bottle of beer inside it was unscathed.


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