San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 22nd, 2009
Amtrak train collides with car in Buda


An Amtrak passenger train collided with a car hung up on the train tracks in front of Buda City Park Thursday night, pushing the vehicle down the tracks to City Hall. Nobody was injured in the collision.

The driver, 47-year-old Dripping Springs resident Maritza Perez, said she accidentally turned onto the railroad tracks at the Main Street curve and was unable to free her vehicle before the train came bearing down on it.

The collision occurred shortly after 7:30 p.m. Thursday, as the cool twilight air drew dozens of area residents downtown and outdoors.

Buda Fire Department Captain Gary Langshaw said his crew received the call at the fire station and were on the scene within a minute.

As they pulled up, Langshaw said he saw the car stuck on the train tracks facing south. Firefighters quickly tried to reach officials from the Union Pacific Railroad to stop all oncoming trains, but there was no time.

“At that time somebody said ‘train’ and I looked up and the train was coming,” Langshaw said. “At that point we started clearing the intersection.”

Within about 30 – 40 seconds, Amtrak train #189 was bearing down on the stalled car, Langshaw said. Though the conductor saw the vehicle and had already begun breaking, the collision was inevitable

The guards in front of the engine are designed to push a vehicle away from the train, said Buda Fire Chief Clay Huckaby. But because the train hit the car squarely from behind, it pushed the vehicle for several hundred yards before coming to a stop behind City Hall.

» Read the full story in the Hays Free Press

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