Three men in a pickup died Friday when the driver pulled in front of a speeding Amtrak passenger train, splitting the truck in two but causing no serious injuries to the train's passengers, authorities said.
The driver of the pickup pulled around a stopped freight train at a crossing on a private dirt road and got slammed by the train on the other set of tracks, said Office Josh McConnell of the California Highway Patrol.
"They weren't taking into consideration that there were two sets of tracks there," he said.
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The train carrying 205 passengers was traveling at up to 80 mph. The two passengers were thrown from the work truck, McConnell said. The pickup's engine landed 40 yards away.
The accident appears to have happened because the freight train was blocking the main road, and the pickup driver followed a dirt road parallel to the tracks to find a way around it, McConnell said.
The collision happened in Madera County north of Fresno surrounded by vineyards. The unidentified men were in their late 20s or early 30s.