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Woman killed when train hits car in Cary

Posted January 2, 2014
Updated January 3, 2014

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— A woman was killed and a man injured Thursday morning when an Amtrak passenger train hit a car at a rail crossing in Cary, officials said.

The collision occurred shortly before 11:30 a.m. at a Maynard Road crossing near Old Apex Road.

Lt. Steve Wilkins of the Cary Police Department said it appears that Benny Derrick Dimery tried to drive around the lowered crossing arm, and the northbound Amtrak Silver Star train hit the passenger side of his Mitsubishi Galant at about 55 mph.

"Putting two and two together, you seem to think the car had driven around the railroad arms, and that’s what I'm told happened, but we have to verify that information," Wilkins said.

"The train was coming, and the car was on the tracks. That’s where we are at right now," he said. "Any time you have a train on the tracks, the train has the right of way, and in train crashes, the car is usually the contributing vehicle to the crash."

A man who called 911 to report the collision told a dispatcher, "(The driver) tried to cut through the guards that came down, and the train just hot him and knocked him out of sight." The man later added that the wrecked Galant "looks like a ball."

Michael Trantham, who lives nearby, said he heard "a real hard bam" and went outside his house, where he saw the train rumbling to a stop.

"I had a good feeling someone had tried to beat the train at the crossing over at Maynard," Trantham said.

Christy Brown, a manager at Mayfair Animal Hospital nearby, said she heard the train blow its whistle before the crash. When she looked outside immediately afterward, she said, she saw the crossing arm was down and cars stopped at the track.

Dimery, 24, of Laurinburg, was taken to WakeMed for treatment and was listed in critical condition early Friday.

His girlfriend, Lauren Webb, 21, also of Laurinburg, was pronounced dead at the scene. Webb graduated from Scotland County High School, school officials said Friday.

None of the 291 people aboard the Silver Star, which was heading from Miami to New York, was injured, officials said.

Officials closed SW Maynard Road to traffic from Old Apex Road to West Chatham Street for more than three hours during the investigation.

Trantham said his grandfather used to work for Southern Railroad and always advised him to be careful at railroad crossings.

"Everybody should be extremely cautious when crossing the railroad tracks, even if the gate is not down. Look, slow down and look," he said.

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  • pedsrndad Jan 6, 2014

    People are trying to shift blame to the railroad and the train being too fast etc. The fact is the car crossed in front of the train with fair warning (lights, horn, crossing arms).Even if there had been no warnings whatsoever, the fact the car was hit, says the train was well within sight. What do the people complaining about the railroad want? Someone walking in front of the train with a lantern yelling "look out?" Compare the train with a car trying to stop on an icy road. You cannot come to a stop in 50 feet, similar situation with the train. If the Engineer had known a car was crossing when he was a mile away, he might have been able to do something.

  • pedsrndad Jan 6, 2014

    A train that is close enough to hit you is close enough to see before hand. No excuse for this tragedy. It is totally the drivers fault. When you are driving, a threat can come from almost any direction,not so with a train.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 6, 2014

    "To the poster who waits 10-15 seconds before they pull away from green ... its drivers like you who cause road rage!" - MeMom


    While they may be the cataylst for the rage, the person raging is still responsible. However, clearly they were exaggerating. As you pointed out, some lights don't even stay green that long. They probably wait a second or two. Like you, I look before I move too.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 6, 2014

    "I agree it was a bone head move if he drove around the gates but none of us know why he did it" - Nauti-dog


    More than likely the same reason that 99.9% of the thousands of others that do it, just because he didn't want to wait. While no fault of the railroad, he probably was only use to seeing freight trains and didn't even consider a passenger train and its speed.

  • NotFromHere Jan 3, 2014

    Stupid drivers are everywhere. I was stopped for a train in Wilson today and with the train not more than 100 feet down the track, a car went around me and around the gates and across the tracks. How stupid do you have to be to take a chance like that just to save a minute or two?

  • kikinc Jan 3, 2014

    "Oh wait 55 MPH. Why was the train traveling so fast?"

    The train can actually go up to 59 mph at that point.

    And this isn't an urban area. It's a suburban area. Doesn't matter how fast the train was going. If someone doesn't respect the rules of the road and decides to drive in front of a passing train, the only one to blame is them.

    This happens more than anyone would think. My mom works for the FRA and has investigated many of these accidents. I feel the worst for the driver of the train. He/she will forever be scarred from this, and most likely won't go back to work. People need to wise up and realize that their poor decisions just don't affect themselves.

  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Jan 3, 2014

    Dimery tried to drive around the lowered crossing arm, and the northbound Amtrak Silver Star train hit the passenger side of his Mitsubishi Galant at about 55 mph.

    See people these Dimery was not following the rules of the railroad. No charges should ever be brought against the railroad. Rules are in place for a purpose and reason. A smart person would obey the rules.

    678devilish
    ----------------------

    Please go away. What is "these Dimery"? He was not following the rules of the ROAD, not railroad. Also, a purpose and a reason are the same thing. I didn't read anywhere that charges for the railroad were being considered either.

  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Jan 3, 2014

    "but it was NOT Lauren's lack of judgement that caused her death --- it was HIS lack of judgement, per @kidsn

    Maybe so, but what if LAUREN was wearing his ear out about taking a long time to get somewhere and encouraged him to do it? He still had a choice but no one except him could answer that. I agree it was a bone head move if he drove around the gates but none of us know why he did it

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jan 3, 2014

    NewToMe said, "If you're in front of me and you [stop at a RR crossing], you'll get a long honk of my horn."

    In NC (and other States), it is illegal to honk your horn unless it is for emergency warning, such as to prevent an accident or when passing another vehicle (or bicycle) on a two-lane road.

    You don't get to use it to push people around and make them drive like *you* think they should drive.

    http://www.ncdot.gov/download/dmv/handbooks_ncdl_english.pdf

    Interesting article that's relevant: http://www.ehow.com/list_6297422_laws-car-horns.html

  • 678devilish Jan 3, 2014

    Dimery tried to drive around the lowered crossing arm, and the northbound Amtrak Silver Star train hit the passenger side of his Mitsubishi Galant at about 55 mph.

    See people these Dimery was not following the rules of the railroad. No charges should ever be brought against the railroad. Rules are in place for a purpose and reason. A smart person would obey the rules.

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