Garner, N.C. — A Raleigh woman who died after an Amtrak train bound for Miami rammed into her car at a Garner railroad crossing appeared to be panicked and unsure of what to do, according to a witness who saw the crash.
"It was just unbelievable," Michelle Foster said Monday. "My whole body went cold."
Garner police say Robin Downes Mozafaripour's Kia got stuck on the tracks at about 9:45 p.m. Friday after she turned right onto Vandora Springs Road from Garner Road and apparently took the turn too tight.
Police say the bells and signals started sounding and the gates lowered while Mozafaripour was trying to dislodge her car.
Foster said the wheels were turning so hard and fast that they started to smoke.
"That's how bad she was really trying to get out of there," she said.
"I just thought that, maybe, I could run underneath and open the door for her, but as I proceeded up to the tracks, I saw the lights from the train, and I just knew it wasn't safe for me to go up and open the door for her," Foster added.
The train hit Mozafaripour's car, pushing it about 50 feet, according to a police report.
Foster said it happened so fast that Mozafaripour didn't have time to escape.
"She couldn't go forward, and she couldn't go backward," Foster said. "She panicked and didn't know what to do."
A longtime neighbor and friend said Monday that Mozafaripour leaves behind a husband and three grown daughters.