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Truck driver arrested in California train crash

POLICE on Tuesday arrested the driver of a truck that got stuck on train tracks in California, causing a crash with a commuter train in which 28 people were hurt.

The stranded vehicle exploded into a fireball after being hit by the four passenger cars and the locomotive pushing the Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train, officials said.

Three passenger coaches came to rest on their side after flying off the rails near Oxnard, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from Los Angeles, a spokesman for Metrolink said.

A total of 48 passengers and three crew were on board the train when it crashed, at around 5:45am (1345 GMT).

Twenty-eight people were hospitalized, with seven admitted for further treatment, officials told a press conference.

Patients were being treated for spinal injuries and multiple fractures, Ventura County Emergency Medical Service spokesman Steve Carroll said.

The 54-year-old driver of the truck -- which appeared to have been ripped into two by the impact -- was found by police wandering around one mile from the crash site. He was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run.

Oxnard assistant police chief Jason Benites told reporters the driver, Jose Sanchez Ramirez, tried to make a right turn across the track when his truck got stuck. "He was very upset when he was taken into custody," Benites added.

Fire Department spokesman Joe Garces said the driver of the train had spotted the truck and had begun slowing down before the crash.

"We do not know yet the exact speed the train was traveling at impact but the emergency protocols had been initiated before the incident," Garces told KTLA television.


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