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Arizona man causes California commuter train crash

PHOENIX — An Arizona man was being questioned by police Tuesday after his truck caused a commuter train to crash in Southern California.

Three rail cars tumbled onto their sides after striking the man’s abandoned truck around 5:45 a.m. about 65 miles north of Los Angeles.

Twenty-eight people were injured. Four people, including the train engineer, had critical injuries.

The truck driver was found several miles away, and authorities were questioning him about why the vehicle was left on the tracks.

Glenn Frisbie was driving to work and sitting at an intersection about a block away when the train struck the truck.

“I saw a bright flash, a big fireball and flames, flames going pretty high,” he said.

Little was left of the truck except scorched and mangled wreckage, with some debris found in a nearby intersection and some close to the tracks.

“When the crews arrived on scene, it was in flames, the vehicle, and it was pretty much cut in half,” Oxnard Fire Battalion Chief Sergio Martinez said.

The locomotive, which was pushing the train from the back, was upright. The stretch of track is straight and that allowed the conductor to see the truck and begin braking, Martinez said.

The train typically would be accelerating out of the Oxnard station at about 55 mph, Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson said. With braking, he estimated it would have hit the truck at between 40 mph and 55 mph.

The crossing had arm gates, signal lights and a center median, said Francisco Castillo, a spokesman for Union Pacific Railroad, which owns the tracks.

Johnson said initial reports from the scene indicated the arms and lights were working.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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