10 Injured When Chicago-Bound Amtrak Train Derails in Mich.

The wreck happened shortly after 8 a.m. in Jackson County

Wednesday, Feb 1, 2012  |  Updated 9:00 PM CDT
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Amtrak says there are no reports of life-threatening injuries from passengers or crew after the train crashed into a semi-truck at a highway crossing.

Amtrak says there are no reports of life-threatening injuries from passengers or crew after the train crashed into a semi-truck at a highway crossing.

A Chicago-bound Amtrak train slammed into a semitrailer that was stuck on the tracks in southern Michigan Wednesday, leaving 10 people injured, authorities said.

Amtrak said the engine came to rest on its side and the first two train cars derailed in the incident in Leoni Township, 45 miles south of Lansing. The train, which began its trip in Pontiac, north of Detroit, had been carrying 68 passengers and five crew members.

Blackman-Leoni Township Department of Public Safety Director Mike Jester said seven passengers, the truck driver, the train engineer and another Amtrak employee were injured. Jester said no one suffered any life-threatening injuries and that all those hurt were taken to a hospital in Jackson.

Authorities were called out shortly before 8:30 a.m. The truck was carrying equipment for local oil production. Sgt.Richard White of the Blackman-Leoni department said the truck driver indicated the trailer got hung up on the tracks and that he couldn't move it.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported some passengers were asleep when the accident happened.

"All of the sudden you felt this huge impact, and you hear a lot of grinding, iron on iron,'' Erik Swanson, a passenger from Pontiac, told the newspaper. "And then it went silent.''

Amtrak said alternative transportation would be provided for passengers between Ann Arbor and Jackson throughout Wednesday so they can board other trains.

The crossing where the incident occurred -- equipped with warning lights, gates and bells -- is owned and maintained by the Norfolk Southern Railway. Company spokesman Robin Chapman said it probably will be sometime Thursday morning before the track is operational again.

Passengers who paid for travel but wish to change plans can receive refunds or re-book for future travel without a fee or penalty. If tickets have not yet been printed, the modification or cancelation can be done on Amtrak.com or by using the Amtrak for iPhone app, the company said.

Passengers are encouraged to call 800-872-7245 or visit Amtrak.com/alerts for Service Alerts and Passenger Notices.

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