A woman was injured when a train collided with her car Wednesday, May 3 near Highland.
The accident occurred around 8:30 a.m. at an unmarked crossing on Farmlane Road, near Veterans Honor Parkway.
The four-door Suzuki sedan was broadsided by the train, then pushed about 1/4 mile down the tracks before the train was able to stop.
“The car was actually stuck to the front end of the train,” said Highland-Pierron Fire Department Chief Steve Plocher.
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The Highland-Pierron Fire Department, Highland Emergency Medical Services and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene. When the EMS and fire departments arrived, the driver was still alive and trapped in the car.
According to Highland EMS Chief Brian Wilson, after seeing the scene, the responders knew more personnel would be needed. Staff from the Highland Fire Department was brought to the scene. At one point, he said there were 12 to 15 firefighters on the scene.
Wilson said they were all thinking of different ways to get the car detached from the train. Quick thinking and team work helped the different departments get the victim out of the car more quickly than what was initially anticipated.
“They did an awesome job and worked together flawlessly,” Wilson said.
Eventually, the emergency workers decided the best course of action would be to back the train up with the car chained to the tracks. According to Wilson, the car finally dislodged from the train after 30 minutes of extraction time.
Wilson said that the emergency workers tried calling in an air medical service to transport the drive. But because of the inclement weather, the medical helicopters would not transport the patient. The patient was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Highland with “potentially life-threatening injuries,” according to Wilson.
It is unknown why the driver was on the tracks. Plocher speculated that she might have not seen the train coming, because it is an unmarked crossing, and there is a house on one side of the tracks that could block the view.
“She was there, and the train was there. That is all I can tell you at this point,” Plocher said.
The car was removed from the tracks around 11 a.m.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department said the investigation is ongoing, so the office was not able to provide any additional details.