Two dead after vehicle crashes into Amtrak in Tangipahoa Parish

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NATALBANY, La. (WGNO) – Two people are dead after a vehicle they were in crashed into an Amtrak train in Natalbany this afternoon.

State Police Troop L spokesman Trooper Dustin Dwight said the crash happened just after 2 p.m. near La. 1064 and Oak Street. The victims, 23-year-old Colton Williams and 23-year-old Justin Lang, both of Tickfaw, were in a 2001 Mazda Protege.

Dwight said the guard rails were down at the crossing, and Williams went around the rails. The train crashed into the vehicle and pushed the car about 125 yards. Williams and Lang died at the scene.

There were 68 passengers on board the Amtrak train. None were injured, police said.

Impairment is not suspected at this time, according to State Police.

State Police offered the following safety tips for railroad crossings:

Trains and cars do not mix.  Never race a train to the crossing — even if you tie, you lose.

The train you see is closer and faster moving than you think.  If you see a train approaching, wait for it to go by before you proceed across the tracks.

Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly.  Even if the locomotive engineer sees you, a freight train moving at 55 miles per hour can take a mile or more to stop once the emergency       brakes are applied.

Never drive around lowered gates — it is illegal and deadly.  If you suspect a signal is malfunctioning, call the 1-800 number posted on or near the crossing signal or your local law enforcement agency.

Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping.  Remember, the train is three feet wider than the tracks on both sides.

If your vehicle ever stalls on a track with a train coming, get out immediately and move quickly away from the tracks in the direction from which the train is coming.  If you run in the same direction the train is traveling, when the train hits your car you could be injured by flying debris.  Call your local law enforcement agency for assistance.

At a multiple track crossing, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.

When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping.  Remember it is not safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.

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