Saturday night (technically Sunday morning as it was 3:45am) I was driving home from a station event and came up on a horrific site that included a demolished Lincoln, a railroad crossing sign laying across train tracks, a ton of blood – and the scariest part…a train coming down the tracks.

As I drove down FM 3020 from Buffalo Springs Lake I reached Southeast Drive and saw that one railroad crossing arm was down and flashing red as if a train was approaching.  I stop and wait for the train.  And wait, and wait and wait.  No train in sight – not even a train horn.  But as I am sitting there, I notice the other “railroad crossing” sign lying across the train tracks – and as I look further down I see that there is a wrecked vehicle.

The doors on this vehicle are shut, it’s dark inside the car and the windshield is gone as if someone went through it – and there is no sign of anything or anyone around.  No police, no EMS, no tow truck – nothing.

I come to the obvious conclusion that this car crashed into the sign that is now lying across the tracks and that no one else was around to witness it – and because it’s dark and in a dark area – any car who passed by this may not have seen it either…just like my friend/co-worker Landon, whom I was following didn’t see it.

And because the doors are all still shut – I’m CERTAIN that there is someone in the car and that someone is either dead or close to death.  I walk to the destroyed vehicle to open the door and I am SCARED OUT OF MY MIND of what I’m about to see.

There is blood EVERYWHERE; so much blood…but no body.  The car was empty.  The airbags deployed, the key was still in the ignition and a phone charger was plugged in – but no body.

I grab my phone and call Landon who was 5 minutes in front of me to make sure he wasn’t part of this accident – which he wasn’t – and ask him to turn around.

Then I call 9-1-1.

I explain to dispatch the scene and what I’m looking at – I give him the vehicle information and I tell him about the sign that is laying across the railroad tracks.  He hears the dinging of the railroad crossing arm in the background that is still going off and asks me if there is a train coming.  I explain that they’ve been going off since I got there yet there is no train in sight.  We assume the railroad arm came down because of the sign lying across the tracks.

Landon (friend/co-worker) pulls up about that time and begins looking around the area for a body as I talk on the phone with dispatch who is telling me that LPD and EMS are on their way and they are coming in hot with lights and sirens on.

8 minutes pass.  And I know it was 8 minutes because I looked back in my phone as to how long my conversation with dispatch was.

911 Call - Amy
911 Call - Amy

And now – in the distance – I hear a train and I can see the train lights.

This train is about to plow into this HUGE railroad crossing sign and arm signal and debris is going to fly everywhere – including my direction.  Dispatch directs us to get in our car and drive as far away as possible and lets me know that he is contacting the railroad.

We hop in Landon’s truck and he throws it in reverse and we get as far away as possible and brace ourselves to watch this disaster unfold.

The train gets 10 yards from crashing into this sign – and stops.  I kid you not – the train stops literally 10 yards away – you can see it in the picture.

Railroad Crossing Sign across the tracks - Train stopped 10 yards away!
Railroad Crossing Sign across the tracks - Train stopped 10 yards away!

The train conductor hops off the train, Landon and I head back to the scene and tell him what has happened and :90 seconds later I see LPD and EMS flying down the street to us.  I inform the 911 dispatcher that the “Calvary” has arrived and we part ways.  (Side note – I don’t know who spoke to me on the phone for those 12 minutes but I would first like to apologize if I yelled in your ear when the train was coming and second I would like to say THANK YOU for what you do – people don’t always give dispatchers the credit they deserve!)

Landon and I give the officers our personal information and the little bit of information we knew about this accident – then we are dismissed to go home.

I called LPD today and asked them if they could give me any information on what became of that – but was informed that he could not give that information out over the phone.  So I don’t know what happened.  There was nothing on the news and nothing in the newspaper – but I sure would like to know…

Please stay safe out there – and for the Love of God – do NOT drink and drive!

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