An Amtrak train was heading east toward Salt Lake City Sunday night when Washoe sheriff's deputies say a driver tried to cross the tracks in front of the oncoming train. The driver of the car was killed.
Thirty-eight-year-old Bethany Ramsey of Fallon, Nv. was killed by the collision which destroyed the Ford Taurus she was driving. Investigators say that alcohol is likely not a factor in the accident.
The accident happened near the Derby Dam, just south of Interstate 80 between Sparks and Fernley. Washoe County Sheriff's deputies say the accident happened just after 7 o'clock. None of the 183-passengers on the train were hurt.
Ramsey had reportedly been rafting down the Truckee River with a friend when the raft they rode in was pinctured. Ramsey then went to the highway and flagged down a passing car.
Sheriff's investigators are asking for the public's help in locating the driver of a "white vehicle with a black stripe" which gave Ramsey a ride from the Patrick area to Derby Dam.
Ramsey had been crossing the tracks on a gravel road at an unguarded crossing - meaning there are no warning lights or crossing bars.
Union Pacific officials say the train was going about 60 miles per hour when it hit the car. They say visibility was very clear and believe the accident . . . most likely was the fault of the driver.
Sgt. Mark Vorderburggen said today that sheriff's investigators will be checking the sight-lines to determine if there was a visibility problem in the area.
"The engine went into emergency mode to shut the train down and applied all it's brakes and was sounding the whistle and the collision occurred," said Lieutenant John Spencer.
An Amtrak spokesperson says the train was delayed between and hour and an hour and a half, and then resumed its trip heading to Salt Lake City - then to Chicago.
The train had made a stop here in Reno and was supposed to leave here at 4:11 Sunday afternoon but, according to Amtrak, the train didn't leave Reno until around 6:30.