Eight people were taken to the hospital and as many as 16 others were injured when an Amtrak passenger train collided with a tractor-trailer in northwestern Indiana early Tuesday, officials told NBC Chicago.
Chief Deputy A.J. Alletto with the White County Sheriff's Office, the agency handling the investigation of the crash in a rural area about 25 miles north of Lafayette, said 24 people complained of pain.
"All I was thinking was, 'Am I going to be OK? Is everyone I know going to be OK?" said 10-year-old psasenger Cole Barr.
Alletto and Monticello Asst. Fire Chief Robert Hickman said eight passengers were treated for minor injuries at IU White Memorial Hospital but some were released by 10 a.m. Another sixteen were treated on the scene by paramedics. Six children were not injured but were taken to the hospital to be with their parents.
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"I hit my eye," said passenger Ashonya Bealim. "They gave me an icepack. Another lady busted her face open and another lady had cuts from her glasses."
The remaining passengers were kept on the train until commercial buses provided by Amtrak could shuttle them to Chicago.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said Hoosier State train 851 carrying 56 passengers and three crew members departed Indianapolis at 6 a.m. ET. The crash happened about one hour and 20 minutes later along the crossing at U.S. 421 near the White County town of Reynolds.
Magliari said it was unclear why the driver disregarded signs at the marked crossing.
Though the trailer was split into two large pieces, the driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.
"The impact of the train was with his trailer rather than the tractor, so he got jerked around but he did not suffer any severe impact," Hickman said.
The area was cleared of debris and the train by 11:45 a.m. CT.