Utah police in hot pursuit of a 29-year-old female suspect chased her right into two oncoming trains. The woman’s barely recognizable Mercedes remained at scene of the accident for hours, jammed underneath a locomotive and bearing witness to the damage a train can do when it collides with an automobile. While the assailant managed to leave the scene with only a broken arm for her troubles, she racked up charges for evading arrest, with additional charges expected.
Prior to the collision, police responded to an unwanted guest disturbance call, indicating that the woman refused to leave the premises. After she declined to pull over, a brief police pursuit began. It ended abruptly when the woman ran into a southbound train at a railroad crossing, after which yet another southbound train slammed into her already damaged vehicle as officers tried to drag the woman from the car.
In this case, as in many others, the second train actually saw the damaged vehicle but couldn’t brake in time to avoid the collision. This is not uncommon, as trains simply cannot stop quickly. The average 80 to 120 rail-car freight train is about a mile to a mile and one quarter in length. When a train of this size is traveling at 55 miles per hour, it can take more than a mile for the train to come to a complete stop after the engineer hits the emergency brake. Similarly, an average passenger train of eight cars in length traveling at 80 miles per hour requires about a mile to stop.
Since trains can’t swerve like other vehicles, inadequate room or time to brake means the object or person obstructing the train’s path is going to be hit. Furthermore, an optical illusion has been observed regarding the approach of oncoming trains, which makes them appear to be much farther away and moving at slower speeds than they actually are.
All of these factors make trains and automobiles a deadly combination. When you or a loved one has been involved in a train accident, put a call to our experienced team of railroad lawyers at the top of your list of things to do.