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Published: Wednesday, 6/16/2004

Motorist dies when train strikes pickup near Delta

Workers remove debris from a vehicle that was struck by a train in Fulton County. Workers remove debris from a vehicle that was struck by a train in Fulton County.
KING / BLADE Enlarge

DELTA, Ohio - A 24-year-old Delta man was killed yesterday when his pickup truck was struck by an Amtrak passenger train in Fulton County near here, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Robert Wozniak was traveling northbound on County Road 5-2 about 6:50 a.m. when he attempted to drive around the lowered crossing gates. The train, traveling at nearly 80 mph, struck Mr. Wozniak's vehicle, dragging it about a half-mile, according to troopers at the patrol's Toledo post.

Mr. Wozniak, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown from his vehicle, troopers said.

The Amtrak train with 266 passengers was en route from New York City to Chicago. The train, which included two engines and 19 cars, was westbound on tracks running near State Rt. 2/U.S. 20A east of Delta.

Evidence at the scene suggested that the crossing gates were down and the flashing lights were working. The impact area was in the southbound lane of the county road where Mr. Wozniak would have driven around the gates, troopers said.

Tammey Cervantes, who has lived near the crossing for 15 years, was awakened by the sound of the crash. "I heard a loud boom," she said. "I could smell gas. I didn't know what it was."

Mrs. Cervantes got out of bed and looked out a window. "It was foggy, misty. I didn't see anything unusual." A few minutes later, a relative who had heard about the crash on a police scanner called her. When Mrs. Cervantes took a closer look, she saw debris from the crash. "The truck's bedliner was out back," she said, gesturing behind her home. "I could see the gates were down."

There were no injuries to the crew or passengers aboard the Lake Shore Limited, which operates daily from New York City to Chicago. The crash put the train about four hours behind schedule, said Marc Magliari, a Chicago-based Amtrak spokesman.

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