Student engineer was operating train in California crash

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Student engineer was operating train in California crash
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A Metrolink train derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
At least 30 people were injured and one person may have been killed after a Metrolink train struck a vehicle near Los Angeles early Tuesday morning.
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Workers lift a rail car back onto the tracks after a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A Metrolink train derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Don Kelsen/LA Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A Metrolink train derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Don Kelsen/LA Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A Metrolink train derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Don Kelsen/LA Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A Metrolink train derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Don Kelsen/LA Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A Metrolink train derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Don Kelsen/LA Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A Metrolink train derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Don Kelsen/LA Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Workers lift a rail car back onto the tracks after a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: An investigator surveys the wreckage of a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train that derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Investigators look at overturned rail cars at the site where a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - DECEMBER 29: Investigators survey the wreckage of a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train that derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: The burned remains of a truck are seen at the site where a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Investigators look at overturned rail cars at the site where a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: First responders at the scene of an overturned Metrolink train cars after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: First responders at the scene of an overturned Metrolink train cars after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: First responders at the scene of an overturned Metrolink train cars after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Policemen have a discussion beside the wreckage of a mangled truck after the truck was hit by a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train during the early morning commute in Oxnard, California on February 24, 2015. The train struck the truck on the tracks and derailed, interrupting rail service from Ventura County and sending 28 people to hospitals, including four in critical condition. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Investigators look at overturned rail cars at the site where a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: The burned remains of a truck are seen at the site where a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: First responders at the scene of an overturned Metrolink train cars after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: The burned remains of a truck are seen at the site where a Los Angeles-bound Metrolink train derailed in a fiery collision with a truck on the tracks on February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. Nearly 28 people were transported to hospitals by first responders. Four are believed to be in critical condition but no immediate fatalities have been reported. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: First responders at the scene of an overturned Metrolink train cars after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Firefighters inspect a Metrolink train car that derailed after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Workers walk near a Metrolink train that hit a truck and then derailed Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of the Metrolink train tumbled onto their sides, injuring dozens of people in the town 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Officials examine the tracks near where a Metrolink train that hit a truck and then derailed Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of the Metrolink train tumbled onto their sides, injuring dozens of people in the town 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Firefighters arrive to attend to injured passengers at the scene of a Metrolink accident, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of a Southern California Metrolink commuter train have derailed and tumbled onto their sides after a collision with a truck on tracks in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Johnny Corona)
A firefighter crawls out of a passenger train car at the scene of a Metrolink accident, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of a Southern California Metrolink commuter train have derailed and tumbled onto their sides after a collision with a truck on tracks in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Johnny Corona)
Map locates commuter train accident northwest of Los Angeles.
Firefighters and other officials walk near cars from a Metrolink passenger train that derailed Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of the Metrolink train tumbled onto their sides, injuring dozens of people in the town 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson told the Los Angeles Times that at least 30 people were injured. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Firefighters and other officials walk near cars from a Metrolink passenger train that derailed Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of the Metrolink train tumbled onto their sides, injuring dozens of people in the town 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson told the Los Angeles Times that at least 30 people were injured. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
An overturned Metrolink passenger car rests on the side of the road after the train crashed into a truck and derailed early on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of a Southern California Metrolink commuter train derailed and tumbled onto their sides after a collision with a truck on tracks in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Johnny Corona)
Firefighters attend to injured passengers at the scene of a Metrolink accident on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of a Southern California Metrolink commuter train derailed and tumbled onto their sides after a collision with a truck on tracks in Ventura County northwest of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Johnny Corona)
Firfighter work at the wreck of a Metrolink passenger train that derailed, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of the Metrolink train tumbled onto their sides, injuring dozens of people in agricultural country 65 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson told the Los Angeles Times that at least 30 people were injured. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Firefighters attend to injured passengers at the scene of a Metrolink collision, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in Oxnard, Calif. Three cars of a Southern California Metrolink commuter train have derailed and tumbled onto their sides after a collision with a truck on tracks in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Johnny Corona)
Images from KTLA show the aftermath of the Metrolink train and truck accident on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Images from KTLA show the aftermath of the Metrolink train and truck accident on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Images from KTLA show the aftermath of the Metrolink train and truck accident on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Images from KTLA show the aftermath of the Metrolink train and truck accident on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Images from KTLA show the aftermath of the Metrolink train and truck accident on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Images from KTLA show the aftermath of the Metrolink train and truck accident on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015.
Emergency responders at the scene where a MetroLink commuter train collided with a truck and derailed, injuring at least 28 people February 24, 2015, in Oxnard, California. Los Angeles-bound commuter train smashed into a truck stuck on the tracks, but there were no reported fatalities, authorities said. The stranded vehicle exploded into a fireball after being hit by the four passenger cars and the locomotive pushing the Metrolink train, a fire department official said. Three passenger cars came to rest on their side after flying off the tracks 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 5:45 am (1345 GMT). Twenty-eight people were being treated at hospital, with four in critical condition, officials said.The driver of the truck fled the vehicle -- which was ripped into two by the impact -- and was later arrested, a fire department official said. AFP PHOTO/ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ (Photo credit should read ADRIAN SANCHEZ-GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: A firefighter hoses down hot spots after a Metrolink train colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
OXNARD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Firefighters and first responders on the scene of a Metrolink train derailment after colliding with a vehicle on the tracks February 24, 2015 in Oxnard, California. The collision, which occurred at the Rice Road crossing, derailed three of the passenger train's cars and injured at least 28 people. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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(Reuters) -- A student engineer was operating a Los Angeles-bound commuter train when it slammed into a pickup truck that had taken a wrong turn onto the tracks last month, killing one person and injuring 50, federal safety investigators said on Thursday.

The commuter train struck the Ford F-450 as it sat on the tracks in the community of Oxnard, about 45 miles west of Los Angeles, shortly before dawn on Feb. 24.

Three double-decker Metrolink rail cars were overturned and two others derailed but remained upright. The force of the impact ripped the truck apart and left burned-out chunks and twisted wreckage still smoldering hours later.

Engineer Glenn Steele, 62, died seven days later from injuries suffered in the wreck.

The truck's driver, Jose Alejandro Sanchez-Ramirez, was taken into custody on suspicion of hit-and-run after leaving the scene, but Ventura County prosecutors declined to file charges against him, saying that decision could be revisited at the conclusion of the crash investigation.

In a preliminary report released on Thursday, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said that Sanchez-Ramirez had intended to turn west onto 5th Street in Oxnard when he instead pulled onto the railroad right-of-way.

"After traveling approximately 80 feet west of the nearest curb line of S. Rice Avenue, the truck became lodged on the southernmost rail of the track," the NTSB report said.

Sanchez-Ramirez then abandoned the truck, leaving his driver's side door open, headlights on and emergency hazard lights flashing, according to the report.

The NTSB said that a student engineer was operating the train at the time, with Steele monitoring at his side in the cab-control car, and placed the train into emergency braking eight seconds before the collision.

The report, which will be supplemented or updated during the course of the investigation, does not find fault with either Steele or the unnamed student engineer.

The rail crossing where the accident took place had been identified as a transportation hazard and had been the scene of a fatal accident as recently as last year, officials have said.

Local lawmakers say federal funds are needed to build an overpass at the crossing, an idea first proposed over a decade ago with a price tag estimated at more than $30 million.

The crossing's hazards were not addressed in the NTSB's preliminary report.

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