Local News

Car hit by freight train in Durham

Posted February 3, 2011

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— Durham police said that a woman tried to drive around crossing arms at a railroad track before her car was struck by a freight train Thursday morning.

A 2000 Toyota Camry was struck by a CSX train while going east along N.C. Highway 54, near N.C. Highway 55, around 10:30 a.m., police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said. The Camry driver, a 45-year-old woman, was not injured.

The train was going about 10 mph and struck the front passenger side of the car, Michael said.

She said that a preliminary investigation showed that the crossing arms had been lowered before the wreck.


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  • HEAFIE200 Feb 4, 2011

    What was she just stupid...never should anyone go around the crossing arms, they are there for a REASON...she is lucky it wasn't a passenger train.

  • sjb2k1 Feb 3, 2011

    i love how you can see the railroad track on the image above yet the location icon is nowhere near it hahaha

  • raleighwakenative Feb 3, 2011

    I remember highway 54 going underneath the bridge that held the RR tracks. 54 was narrow then (in 1970s) In the late 1980s or so, when 54 was widened, they raised the road to be level with the tracks. That is why that strip mall is down in a hole.

    I wonder what is going on in the mind of a driver who drives around crossing gates.

  • pettit2 Feb 3, 2011

    It may have been more than 22 years ago that the old Durham Southern tracks ran across a bridge over a very narrow section of Highway 54.

    In any event, there are 2 trains running on that line today, one in the morning from Apex to Durham and the other in the afternoon from Durham back to Apex. They travel the rickety rails at no more than 10 MPH.

    I would venture a guess that the lady in question pulled around the gates because the train appeared to be going VERY slowly, which it was. If it had been going 9 MPH, she would have made it.

    But that's no excuse. She was at fault and she should suffer the consequences, including any repairs to the locomotive she may have caused (highly unlikely, but indeed possible)

  • Unknown Caller Feb 3, 2011

    I fought the train...and the train won.

  • babedan Feb 3, 2011

    The 54/55 intersection is down around the Pizza Hut and Toco Bell, not on the 54/Miami area. I don't know if there was a bridge there or not, but I've worked in this area for 10 years just down the road from this intersection and I've never see a bridge there or the track going under the road either.

  • sssh.. whisper Feb 3, 2011

    all i have to say is... DUH!!!

    If the arms are down, and the train is "choo choo chooing", than there's probably a good chance that a train is coming!

    Why on earth would someone be stupid enough to drive around only to be hit! Take this woman's driver's license away from her.

  • dixieboy Feb 3, 2011

    If she had done this on the NCRR tracks in the area operated by Norfolk Southern she would be dead. NS Trains run about 45mph and Amtrak does nearly double that speed.

  • no contest Feb 3, 2011

    @ jasonschmidt - I remember when Hwy 54 went under the RR tracks at the 54 & 55 intersection. There was a big stink when they changed it to an 'at grade' crossing to make 54 wider.

    Not everything can be made safe for the fools that don't use common sense, follow the law or exercise some personal responsibility.

  • seankelly15 Feb 3, 2011

    jasonschmidt - "...DOT decided to save money when widening the road to eliminate the bridge and raise the road to create a rail crossing."

    Railroad bridges are owned by the railroad... not the DOT. So, either the railroad decided to remove the bridge or your facts are confused.