Following the tragic Amtrak train crash, the first victims’ identities have been revealed. Zack Willhoite, age 35, is just one of the innocent people who lost their lives.
Amtrak Cascades Train 501 derailed near Tacoma, WA at approximately 7:40 AM on Dec. 18, leaving three people dead. The first victim of the crash was named more than 24 hours later. Zack Willhoite, 35, who worked for Pierce Transit in Washington and has been described as a “rail aficionado,’ was confirmed as one of the men who died in the horrifying derailment. “It’s heartbreaking to hear that @PierceTransit employee Zack Willhoite did not survive the derailment,” Chris Karnes, chair of the transit company’s advisory board, tweeted on Dec. 19. “He helped our advisory committee with IT issues, and behind the scenes he was a writer and advocate for better transit for all. He will be missed.” Zack’s friend, Jim Hamre, was also a victim of the crash. The third victim’s identity has not been revealed.
The train, which carried 78 passengers and five crew members, crashed into the highway, striking cars below. Shocking photos from the scene showed the front train cars dangling over the road from the bridge. It was confirmed on the evening of Dec. 18 that the Amtrak train was traveling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone when it derailed. At this time, though, the exact cause of the crash cannot be confirmed. It is still “too early to tell” why the train was going so fast at the time it derailed, according to a National Transportation Safety board member. See more photos of the train crash here.
A spokesperson for the Pierce County Sheriff Department previously told HollywoodLife.com: “The Amtrak train was traveling south bound when it derailed and caused several cars on the Interstate 5 to be struck by train cars. Multiple motorists have been injured as a result, and at the moment we have reports of multiple passenger casualties. We do not have a definitive number on those who have been injured as of yet, but those numbers will be coming as we investigate the scene.”
HollywoodLifers, our hearts go out to the friends and family of the victims. You can leave your thoughts for them in the comments section.