March 14, 2013

Train hits tractor in Chazy


---- — CHAZY — A tractor was destroyed when it was hit by an Amtrak train on Wednesday at a farm crossing.

No one was injured, Chazy-based State Police said.

Lawrence Nichols, 42, of Champlain was driving the tractor across a private, right-of-way crossing that is used by farmers near Bell Road in Chazy when the tractor got stuck on the train tracks, police said.

An Amtrak passenger train heading south wasn’t able to stop and plowed into the tractor.

Nichols got out of the way as the train approached.

A 911 call alerted State Police and emergency responders about the accident at about 12:45 p.m. but there was some confusion over where it happened.

The location was first given as the rail crossing over Stetson Road in Chazy; responders quickly found the right spot, though.

The farm crossing is near one that is closed to regular traffic — it is reached by Bell Road from the east off Stetson Road and Sarachon Road from the west off Route 9.

Mary Kalvaitis and her husband, Eini, who own Phantom Farm Pet Motel on Bell Road near the tracks, saw a fleet of police cars and fire trucks parked next to their home when they pulled into their driveway at 1:15 p.m.

Police told her that the man operating the tractor was able to get to safety before the train hit it, she said.

“It scared us,” she said. “But nobody is hurt.”

The front of the Amtrak engine had minor damage, police said.

No tickets were issued.

Amtrak’s website says the southbound train arrives in Rouses Point at 12:05 p.m., with possible delays from U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection.

It is supposed to arrive in Plattsburgh at about 12:35 p.m. each day.

An Amtrak representative could not be reached Wednesday for information on how long the train was delayed as a result of the accident.

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