Four dead after Amtrak collides with van

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - At least four people are dead after an Amtrak train with a history of crashes collided with a passenger van north of Independence.

The train, known as "The City of New Orleans," was involved in the crash, an Amtrak spokesman confirmed.

The crash happened just before 1:30 p.m. Friday on Highway 51 at the Capace Crossing, said Tangipahoa Parish Chief Deputy Dennis Pevey.

Pevey said at least four people died inside the van. No one on the train was injured.

Pevey said crews believe there were only four people in the van but are searching the area to make sure there were no other victims involved. The van was heavily damaged in the crash, making it difficult to determine the number of victims, investigators said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known, Pevey said.

"The City of New Orleans" train runs daily between New Orleans and Chicago, and makes a stop in Memphis.

The train crashed in 1961 in suburban Illinois after ramming into a gasoline truck at a whistle stop crossing. Six people died and six other were injured.

In 1991, the "City of New Orleans" collided with a flatbed semi-trailer 50 miles south of Chicago. Twelve people were killed.

The train derailed near Flora, Miss., about 15 miles north of Jackson, in 2004 and killed a Chicago woman. The National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation following that crash and found that the wreck was caused by deteriorated tracks.

And in June of 2008, the "City of New Orleans" was involved in two separate crashes. The southbound train hit a car in McComb, Miss., injuring a 19-year-old driver. It then continued south, entered into Louisiana, and hit another car near Independence. No one was injured in the second accident.

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