Woman killed when train hits car in Cary
Posted January 2, 2014
Updated January 3, 2014
Cary, N.C. — 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.