Trucker distracted in train crashA New Hampshire truck driver was distracted by his cellphone and driving 20 mph over the speed limit when he skidded into the path of an Amtrak train, police said Monday.
NORTH BERWICK, Maine (AP) — A New Hampshire truck driver was distracted by his cellphone and driving 20 mph over the speed limit when he skidded into the path of an Amtrak train, police said Monday.
The driver, 35-year-old Peter Barnum, took a call from his employer moments before the July 11 crash at a gate crossing in North Berwick, police Chief Stephen Peasley said. The crash killed Barnum, injured half a dozen people and destroyed the train's engine in an explosion that sent flames three stories high.
Investigators believe Barnum was distracted by the phone, but can't say for sure if he was talking at the time of the collision. A police report reviewed by The Associated Press indicated the five-minute phone call began at 11 a.m. Police received the first 911 calls about the crash at 11:05 a.m.
Barnum, of Farmington, N.H., was ferrying garbage for his employer, Triumvirate Environmental Inc. of Somerville, Mass. The train was carrying passengers along the Downeaster's route from Boston to Portland, Maine.
A Maine State Police reconstruction report has not been filed, but Peasley said he was told the truck was traveling about 50 mph before the crash. The speed limit is 30 mph.
The train was traveling at 70 mph at the time of the crash, officials have said.