A Southern California train crash on Tuesday that injured more than 30 people has raised the suspicions of federal investigators. Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the Ford F450 pickup truck that was abandoned on the tracks was not stuck on the tracks as had been initially reported.
“It was not stuck, it was not bottomed out on the track or something like that,” he told reporters at a briefing late Tuesday near the crash site in Oxnard. “We’re very concerned about that, we’re very interested in it.”
According to Sumwalt the truck’s emergency brake was set, and the headlights were on in the high beam position when the truck was abandoned. The driver, Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, 54, of Yuma, Arizona fled the scene and was apprehended 1.6 miles away about 45 minutes later. He has been arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.
Crossing accidents are not normally investigated by the NTSB, but the suspicious nature of this incident warranted federal scrutiny, according to Sumwalt.
“It’s not your typical grade crossing accident,” he said.