An Amtrak train headed to Union Station in Chicago from San Antonio on Friday collided with a truck carrying 70,000 pounds of bacon at a crossing near Wilmington, Illinois, police at the scene reported to NBC Chicago.
The train hit the back part of a truck that was obstructing the tracks at about 4 p.m. on Friday. It was not immediately clear why the truck was blocking the tracks. The impact was so powerful that it split the overturned semitrailer in half, sending loads of packaged bacon flying everywhere.
— Trina Orlando (@TrinaOrlando) June 5, 2015
The NBC reporter that first tweeted the incident later reported that she meant to write “pounds” instead of “tons” and many speculate the police meant 70,000 pounds includes both the weight of the truck and the bacon because of weight restrictions for trucks.
Passenger Sam Herwitz, 23, boarded the train in St. Louis and was sitting in the last car. He told NBC that he and others onboard “didn’t really know if we’d hit something or we had just done a brake-check kind of thing.”
Herwitz said 20 minutes passed before passengers were told to leave the train. It was then he learned there had been an accident. Amtrak never made any announcement to them on the PA system throughout the entire incident.
The 203 passengers, including children, were forced off the train and were sent in school buses to Wilmington High School. The frustrated passengers eventually made it to Chicago at night on charter buses, 8 hours past their scheduled arrival time.
As many as 10 people were taken to area hospitals, Wilmington police Chief Philip Arnold said to Chicago Tribune, adding that he did not know the extent of their injuries. Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz said three passengers suffered minor injuries and were taken to local hospitals.
Herwitz told the station a passenger next to him bumped his head on the seat in front of him and that he saw a woman taken to an ambulance.
The driver of the semitrailer walked away from the crash, he told WMAQ.