RENO, Nev. -- Robert Hill's mind keeps returning to one image from the smoke-filled Amtrak passenger car: the elderly woman he tried, again and again, to coax down from the upper deck after he escaped the burning train.
"I was telling her to jump out the window, but she never did, and she went out of sight," said Hill, a professor from Taylorsville, Miss., who survived the horrific collision between a tractor-trailer and an Amtrak train in Nevada's high desert. "I remember her frail arms hanging out the window. I'll never know whether she made it out alive or not."
About 200 passengers fled from the train -- some, like, Hill, by jumping through windows -- to avoid a tower of fire sparked when a big rig plowed into a double-decker car at a rural highway crossing about 70 miles east of Reno on Friday.