City-owned truck lurches forward, slams into light rail train several hurt

January 28, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A city worker's attempt to install a police surveillance camera went awry yesterday when an unattended truck he was working on suddenly lurched forward and slammed into the side of a light rail train.

Several passengers aboard the train, which derailed, complained of neck and back injuries. Accounts put the number of injured at between four and 20. One city employee either fell or jumped from the truck's elevated bucket, and a second worker was injured when he was hit by the rolling vehicle.

The noon accident near the Mount Royal station at Maryland Institute, College of Art forced officials to close part of the rail line for 2 1/2 hours and transport passengers between stops at Camden Yards and West North Avenue.

Details were sketchy yesterday, and neither state Mass Transit Administration nor city Department of Public Works officials could say why the truck abruptly moved forward. Police said they were investigating the brakes to see whether they had been properly set or gave way.

But one train passenger, Blair Kirssin, said he believes the pantograph -- the extendable arm that links the top of the train to the overhead power lines -- clipped the bucket, dragging the truck into the passing train.

On impact, the front of the truck became wedged at a coupling, folding the hood, engine and windshield into the front seat.

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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