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Amazon driver 'lucky to be alive' after collision with Amtrak train in Wisconsin

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Posted at 12:05 PM, Nov 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-11 15:05:07-05

IXONIA, Wisc. — Officials say an Amazon driver is lucky to be alive after the driver collided with an Amtrak train at a railroad crossing Wednesday.

The delivery van driver was taken to a local hospital for precautionary measures but is expected to be OK.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said a preliminary investigation showed that the Amazon vehicle was heading northbound on River Valley Road around 1:30 p.m. local time when it attempted to cross the tracks.

That's when the train, heading eastbound, struck the vehicle.

"The fact that he came out alive from that was really amazing, I was so happy that he was OK," Ben Bellack said.

For Bellack, it was a typical Wednesday afternoon working from home until he heard what he thought was a gunshot ring out just a few feet outside his window.

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"I looked out the window, and I saw that there was half of an Amazon van in the middle of the road," Bellack said.

The other half was wrapped around the front of a nearby train that had come to an emergency stop.

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"I grabbed my keys, got in the car, drove down there as quick as I could, expecting — who knows what I was going to see," Bellack said. "I look around, and the guy was in the front seat, and I was like, 'Are you OK?' And he was like, 'Yeah.'"

Amtrak says all 129 passengers and 12 crew members aboard the train are OK.

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Pam Avery and her daughter, Tara Truax-Newhousewere, were on their first train ride ever, on their way to Milwaukee to visit family.

"We were going along really well, and all of a sudden we felt a bump and then another little bump, and then we heard the brakes go on," Avery said.

"When stuff was happening, they let us know, so we didn't feel like we were in the dark," Truax-Newhouse said.

After a delay of about four hours, the train was back on its way.

Amtrak said the train is a part of their Empire Builder service. It departed Seattle and Portland on Monday.

This story was originally published by Taylor Lumpkin on Scripps station TMJ4 in Milwaukee.