CHARLESTON, W.Va. The driver of a loaded log truck that collided Friday with a sightseeing train carrying 63 passengers and four crewmembers on a scenic leaf-peeping circuit in West Virginia's mountains was the lone fatality in an accident that injured 23 others, authorities said.
At least six of the injured were hospitalized in serious condition after the accident, which came at the height of fall foliage season in the state's rugged Appalachian region about 160 miles east of Charleston, officials added.
Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady said two of the train's passenger cars flipped on their sides after impact at a rail crossing with a mountain highway, the log truck was rendered a "total loss" and the truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
The truck driver was not immediately identified and news photographs from the scene at West Virginia's Cheat Mountain showed large, heavy logs jumbled beside the two toppled train cars amid a chaotic scene of first responders aiding shaken passengers leaving the train.
Brady said the accident occurred at a train crossing on U.S. Route 250 at a bridge on the mountain. The overturned passenger cars lay beside the tracks, roped off with yellow crime scene tape as police, firefighters and others looked on.
"The railroad crossing signals were flashing at the scene. As all emergency personnel arrived, we observed the signals flashing at the time," Brady said in a taped news conference held with hospital officials who emailed the audio recording to The Associated Press.