AMITE, La. - A dump truck driver is dead after a crash with an Amtrak train in Tangipahoa Parish, the sheriff's office said.

Cedric West, 60, of Minden was returning to his job work in Amite when he drove onto the tracks in the path of the northbound Amtrak train, said Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's Chief Jimmy Travis. The train hit the driver side of West’s vehicle, inflicting "massive damage" and killing West, Travis said.

No train passengers were reported injured.

The crash happened near Ponders Quarters lane, a small road off U.S. Highway 51 about midway between Independence and Amite.

No crossing gates or lights were installed at the Ponders Quarters Amtrak Crossing as late as 2016. The latest photo of the crossing on Google Maps, also taken five years ago, shows a sign warning of no gates or lights at the crossing.

An action plan created by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and adopted by the state of Louisiana in 2011 said 60% of public crossing collisions occurred in 14 parishes, including Tangipahoa.

From 1999-2004, the years cited in the 2011 FRA action plan, more than 85% of vehicle-train crashes occurred at crossings without gates.


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