BARTLETT — One person was confirmed dead Tuesday after a 12:52 p.m. collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a pickup truck on the tracks just south of Bartlett on State Highway 95.
The Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was on the tracks at Bartlett Cemetery Road when it was struck, said Holland Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Coleman Benner. Bartlett is about 40 miles southeast of Killeen.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said Tuesday that it was not known yet if the pickup was already on the tracks or if it drove into the train’s path.
“I’ve been a trooper for 21 years,” said Department of Public Safety Trooper Robbie Barrera. “From my experience, exactly how it happened may never be known. The only person who knows was in that truck. All we know now is that the train and truck collided.”
The victim’s identity was not known, Barrera said. “We do know the person was from Texas and that person wasn’t local. But we don’t know yet if the deceased is a man or woman. The scene was pretty well destroyed by fire. The body will be sent for an autopsy to help make a positive identification.”
No one was injured on Texas Eagle 22, which was headed for Chicago, Magliari said. The Texas Eagle runs daily through Temple.
The pickup truck caught fire and the fire spread to nearby grass. The fire, extending from Donahoe Creek to Bartlett Cemetery Road, was under control by 1:30 p.m., Benner said.
Granger Independent School District sent buses to transport the 239 train passengers to Granger High School, where the Salvation Army and American Red Cross will care for them until Amtrak can get them to their destinations, Barrera said.
Both northbound and southbound lanes of SH 95 were blocked so that emergency responders could set up for a mass casualty and prepare to triage patients, Little River-Academy Fire Chief David Borders said. Borders said that is normal procedure when more than one person might be injured.