CROWN POINT — Walter Hinkson was lucky to walk away from a train accident Saturday evening with only cuts and bruises.
The 86-year-old Crown Point resident had been driving home in his 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan at about 6:18 p.m. after a trip to the Walmart in Ticonderoga. Traveling north on Route 9N/22, Hinkson began to turn around a sharp corner when another vehicle drove past with its high beams on.
The bright headlights made it difficult to see the road while completing the turn, he said.
“I knew there was a turn there and I was turning, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t turn too sharp to end up with the cars coming in my direction,” he said.
While turning, Hinkson’s vehicle exited the roadway and headed toward the nearby train tracks where it collided with an oncoming Amtrak passenger train.
“The part of the engine that overhangs the tracks caught a little bit of my van, but when it caught it, it demolished it,” he said.
Amtrak engine No. 68 was carrying 103 passengers from Montreal to New York City according to an Amtrak representative. No passenger or crew injuries were reported and there was no severe damage to any of the train’s machinery.
Hinkson said he had been in shock after leaving the roadway and throughout the accident.
“That’s the worst accident I’ve had in my life,” he said, adding that he had never hit another vehicle while driving before.
A passerby reported the accident to local authorities and Hinkson was transported to Moses-Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga where he was treated and released that evening.
Hinkson was at home recovering from his injuries Sunday afternoon. Those included a cut on his knee, pain in his chest, swollen hands and a bruise on his lip.
No tickets were issued, State Police reported.
The accident was the second train-car crash in southern Essex County in two weeks.
Brian Woods, 28, of Crown Point was injured Feb. 5 when his truck was hit by an Amtrak passenger train at an unmanaged crossing near International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill.