(RepublicanNews.org) – The reason we’ve all been told since childhood not to try and beat a train over the tracks was in full view in Florida on September 23rd. Five members of the same family and one friend of the family were killed after the driver of a Cadillac Escalade failed to wait for a passing train to cross in front of his vehicle.
The Sheriff’s Office for Hillsborough County said the “reasons” behind the driver’s decision were both “unknown and undetermined.” According to the office, 52-year-old Jose Hernandez slowly drove onto the tracks in question and put his vehicle “directly in” front of the passing train. Hernandez’ SUV was struck at about 7 p.m., authorities indicated.
Among the six dead are three adults and three minors, two of whom were Hernandez’s children. The third child was reported to be a friend of his children. Seven people were traveling in the vehicle when it was hit and the front passenger is reported to be clinging to life at a local hospital.
According to Chad Chronister, the Hillsborough County Sheriff, the Escalade “flipped violently” a number of times after the train hit it. The vehicle eventually came to rest some “distance” away. Sheriff Chronister said the five passengers that had been sitting in the rear of the SUV were ejected as the Escalade “rotated and rolled” before coming to a “final rest.
Both Hernandez and his front passenger remained in the vehicle throughout its roll. First responders were forced to use the jaws of life to extract the pair, who were still alive, from the SUV. Both were transported to a nearby medical facility, but Hernandez succumbed to his injuries a short time after arriving.
Chronister called the loss “tragic” and “immense,” but said the responding authorities had acted with “professionalism” at “the highest level.”
According to one report, trains strike people or vehicles at the rate of one every three minutes.
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