Car struck by Amtrak train downtown
No one was injured when a car was struck shortly before 2:30 this afternoon on the Second Street SW SE railroad crossing by a passing Amtrak train. The Westbound Amtrak Cardinal was delayed while a crew from Charlottesville Wrecker cleared the damaged Oldsmobile Intrigue from the CSX/Buckingham Branch tracks.
The car, bearing several bumper stickers–- including "I [heart] mountains" and "This is Your Brain on Hugs"–- appeared to have been traveling southbound, away from the Downtown Mall near the X Lounge restaurant, at the time of the incident. Two Amtrak officials, who said they were conductors, referred media questions to Amtrak headquarters.
Whether or not the safety gate-equipped crossing was properly working could not be immediately determined.
Update/clarification: The accident occurred at 1:52pm and delayed the train and its 192 passengers for 65 minutes, according to an Amtrak spokesperson. City spokesperson Ric Barrick says that police ticketed the driver, 45-year-old Hisham Naim Ashur of Charlottesville, who has numerous past summonses for traffic violations including defective headlights, failure to obey a traffic sign, following too closely, speed, inspection, failure to stop, and failure to yield. In this case, Barrick says, Ashur was cited for Disregard of a railroad traffic signal. A telephone listing for Ashur could not be found, and an email sent to an address he might have used was not returned.