LITTLE FALLS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Ten people were injured, including two seriously, when a NJ TRANSIT train struck a tractor-trailer in northern New Jersey on Wednesday.
The Montclair-Boonton line train was carrying 71 passengers and crew when it hit the back of the trailer that was on the tracks near Main Street in Little Falls at around 8:15 a.m, officials said.
“The truck crossed over and was attempting to make a very tight turn and was unable to do so,” NJ TRANSIT spokesman John Durso Jr. said. “The tractor-trailer then backed up and at that point, the gates had come down and the train was unable to stop in time.”
Four people remained hospitalized as of Wednesday evening, two in serious condition.
The trailer was crushed in the collision, leaving dozens of yellow plastic paint cans strewn across the road and paint splattered everywhere.
“I heard it, it was a loud crash then I saw the train coming to a stop behind us,” witness Bill Timko said.
“I’ve never heard anything like that in my life. It really sounded like a bomb,” a witness told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “I think it was just going so fast that it just couldn’t put on the brakes, and it hit it full-speed. That’s why it ended up stopping further down the tracks.”
Two of the victims, a school crossing guard and a NJ TRANSIT employee, were seriously hurt. Officials said the crossing guard, identified as Linda Knauer, was hit by debris.
The injuries are not considered to be life-threatening, Putney reported.
“I heard a loud bang,” said witness Jared Navarro. “Then I ran outside and saw the crossing guard laying on the ground.”
The tractor-trailer is registered to Malhi Transport in Carteret, CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported.
The driver, who was not seriously hurt in the crash, was issued a summons for careless driving and police continued to question him about the accident, Sloan reported.
The gates were working properly at the time of the crash, officials said.
Investigators were looking into whether the heavy fog was a factor in the accident.
Crews were also cleaning up the mess left behind by the containers of yellow paint.
“There is quite a bit of paint and, as you can see, there appears to be about 5-gallon containers that are strewn all about and it’s definitely going to require a lot of work to get it off the street,” said Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnick.
Trains on the Montclair-Boonton line were impacted by the crash. Two morning trains were cancelled and others had faced delays.