One killed in collision of BNSF trains in Arizona, authorities say

Jun 6, 2018, 3:15 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2018, 11:21 am
(Facebook/Mohave County Sheriff's Office)...
(Facebook/Mohave County Sheriff's Office)
(Facebook/Mohave County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX — Two BNSF Railway trains collided on the freight railroad’s tracks in an isolated area of northwestern Arizona, killing one person and injuring another, officials said Wednesday.

The wreck occurred Tuesday near Truxton, Arizona, a small community 103 miles west of Flagstaff, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said.

One of the freight trains belonging to BNSF Railway had significant front-end damage. The second train, which had been transporting maintenance equipment belonging to Herzog Railroad Services, Inc., was derailed.

Walter Erickson, a 63-year-old man from Lenexa, Kansas, was announced dead on the scene. Matthew Thompson, a 26-year-old man from Salem, Missouri, received “significant injuries” and was airlifted to a southern Nevada hospital. He is currently in stable condition.

Both Erickson and Thompson were employees with Herzog Railroad Services, Inc.

Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster said in a statement on Facebook that the department will conduct its own independent investigation into the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board was also notified of the wreck and will investigate circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident.

The wreck and the closing of BNSF’s double-track southern main line in that area forced Amtrak to use charter buses to carry train passengers between Flagstaff and Los Angeles. Amtrak’s passenger trains use freight railroad tracks in most parts of the United States.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the busing of passengers on the passenger railroad’s Southwest Chief route between Chicago and Los Angeles would continue until BNSF reopened its tracks at the wreck site.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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One killed in collision of BNSF trains in Arizona, authorities say