Driver killed, teen son injured in car crash with Amtrak train

Accident happened three miles west of Camas at private rail crossing with no crossing-arms, flashing lights or bells

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This story was updated at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, to include the name of the deceased driver.

A Vancouver woman died this morning and her teen son was hospitalized after the car she was driving collided with an Amtrak train near Camas.

The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. this morning, three miles west of Camas between Southwest Fifth and Sixth avenues at a private railroad crossing on Southwest Viola Street.

Camas Police Officer Debrah Riedl said the female driver, later identified as Vancouver resident Maria G. Gonzalez Torres, 34, died at the scene of the accident and that her 14-year-old son, who was sitting in the front passenger seat and was conscious and able to walk away from the wreck, was transported by ambulance to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.

According to the Camas Police Department, the Amtrak train was carrying 75 passengers and five crew members and was heading westbound, en route to its next stop in Vancouver. No one on the train was injured.

Gus Melonas, spokesperson for Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway, which owns the tracks, said the private crossing had warning signs but no bells, flashing lights or “crossing arms” to indicate that a train was approaching.

Melonas said these types of marked, private crossings, which typically lead into residential areas, are common in the Camas area and urged all drivers, even those crossing railroad tracks with bells and flashing lights to be vigilant.

“Even if there are gates, you have to be careful,” Melonas said.

Although BNSF typically runs freight trains on these tracks, Melonas said two Amtrak trains use the line.

Melonas said BNSF was “back to running trains” on the line at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.

Camas police said the collision is being investigated with the help of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, BNSF Railroad and Amtrak officials. Camas-Washougal Fire Department also assisted at the accident scene.

Photo courtesy of Camas Police Department
The aftermath of a collision between a vehicle and an Amtrak train three miles west of Camas Tuesday morning, which left a woman dead and her 14-year-old male passenger injured.

Photo courtesy of Camas Police Department
A sign marks the private railroad crossing at Southwest Viola Street and Southwest Fifth Avenue near Camas, at the site of a fatal collision between a car and train Tuesday morning.