It happened shortly after eight o'clock on Tuesday night, at the intersection of Avenue 15 1/2 and Road 29 in Madera County.
Officers tell Action News, the 56 year old driver drove through the intersection and into a dirt lot.
The driver claims his gas pedal got stuck. He then lost control of the SUV and crashed into a pole.
That impact sent him onto the tracks. When his wheels got stuck, the driver was able to safely escape.
Minutes later, the Amtrak train which was headed to Bakersfield from Sacramento, clipped the SUV at 79 miles an hour.
The 84 passengers on board were unharmed. Inspectors worked to make sure the tracks were safe, before allowing the Amtrak train to continue on its route.
The train got moving around 9:15. Passengers in Fresno told Action News that their train was delayed about an hour and a half, and the impact was "scary" and "intense".
CHP says this is the second Amtrak crash in as many weeks.