EXCLUSIVE: Video shows truck hit by train in Oakland, bursting into flames

Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers

ByAmy Hollyfield and Leslie Brinkley KGO logo
Friday, March 19, 2021
Driver describes desperate escape before fiery Amtrak crash
An Amtrak train hit a truck in Oakland just before 9 a.m. Thursday, dragging it about 100 yards and immediately sparking a huge fire.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- An Amtrak train hit a truck in Oakland just before 9 a.m. Thursday, dragging it about 30 yards and immediately sparking a huge fire.

The driver of the truck and his passenger, a co-worker, were able to jump out of the truck before the impact. The driver, 73-year-old Javier Soria, said their truck was stuck on the track.

"All of a sudden, I saw that I got stuck and then I saw the (train) light and said 'Oh, my God.' I tried to go back and forward and he said, 'You have to get out of the truck, that train is going to hit you!' So I ran across the street and tried to stop the Amtrak - but no he wouldn't stop, he just kept going," Soria said, showing how he waved his arms in the hopes that the train operator would see him.

The crash happened at the intersection of Fruitvale Ave and E 10th in Oakland.

Soria and his co-worker were hauling garbage and were headed to the dump when he says the truck wheels got stuck on the track. He said he felt some panic but was calm enough to jump out of the truck in time.

EXCLUSIVE: Video shows fiery crash between train, truck in Oakland

Video captured the moment that a truck was struck by an Amtrak train in Oakland, causing the truck to explode into flames.

"The impact was terrible. I was worried about the Amtrak operator, he was in front, he is the one who hit it," Soria said.

An Amtrak spokesperson says the Amtrak Coast Starlight train 11 had 111 passengers and crew members on board. No one was hurt.

"All of a sudden it started slowing down, kind of a halt but not too abrupt," explained passenger Sonya Kotler. "Everyone was safe. It wasn't too scary. And then they told us we hit some thing and we had to get off."

While Sonya got off the train, most passengers remained on the train which continued on after the engines were swapped out.

The train was headed to Los Angeles from Seattle.

According to Amtrak, it is impossible for a train to stop with that short of notice. They note that a train traveling at 55 miles per hour can take approximately one mile, or the length of a 18 football fields, to stop.