Motorist ‘lucky to be alive’ after train strikes his pickup

By CATHY LOGG

Herald Writer

MARYSVILLE – A man whose small pickup collided with an Amtrak train Thursday is "extremely lucky to be alive."

The man, believed to be in his 40s, was treated at Providence Everett Medical Center’s Colby Campus and later released.

The collision occurred about 9:10 a.m. at a private railroad crossing in the 13100 block of Smokey Point Boulevard.

The Amtrak passenger train was northbound from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia, at an undetermined speed, said Gus Melonas, a Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad spokesman. Amtrak uses Burlington Northern’s tracks.

A 1996 Mazda pickup was westbound approaching the private crossing that leads to Blanchard Abrasive Services, which is on the west side of the tracks, authorities said.

"The vehicle may have come to a stop and then proceeded," Marysville Police Cmdr. Ralph Krusey said. "Either he realized the train was coming and stopped and tried to back up, or the train caught (the pickup) as it was starting to pass.

"It’s miraculous that he lived," Krusey said. "That guy is really fortunate.

"He’s extremely lucky to be alive."

The pickup climbed up the front of the train, flipped in the air and landed about 20 feet from the tracks, he said. The man was wearing a seat belt and his air bag deployed, Krusey said.

The accident is under investigation by the railroad and Marysville police. Neither could say what the speed was but trains can travel up to 79 mph in that area, Melonas said.

The train crew applied the emergency brakes and blew the whistle, Melonas said. The crossing has a stop sign, but no barriers.

The railroad tracks were shut down for 45 minutes after the collision, he said. No one aboard the train was injured.

The victim’s name, age and hometown were unavailable.

Krusey said motorists at private crossings need to "Stop, look and listen. Frequently people just take for granted that there’s nothing coming because it’s not a controlled crossing, and either don’t look, or look and don’t recognize what they see coming down the track."

You can call Herald Writer Cathy Logg at 425-339-3437or send e-mail to

logg@heraldnet.com.

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