By Robin Rieger
BERLIN, NJ (CBS) – NJ Transit trains have been running all day through the railroad crossing at Washington Avenue in Berlin. On Tuesday evening, a southbound NJ Transit train hit a car stuck there on the railroad tracks.
The driver of the car, 27-year-old Eleni Antipas of Cherry Hill, received a careless driving ticket, according to New Jersey Transit police, who are investigating the collision.
NJ Transit says Antipas told police she misread her GPS and turned onto the tracks from Washington Avenue, then got stuck.
Our GPS shows the railroad tracks and makes it clear that Washington Avenue crosses them. There is no indication to turn left or right.
“I heard someone screaming, ‘Get out of the car, get out of the car now!’” said Dustin Smith, who lives next to the crossing.
“Lights were flashing. I looked out just in time to see the train hit the car,” Smith said.
He also says he spoke to a passerby who stopped to help Antipas.
“She was standing in front of car waving at the train, trying to get it to stop,” Smith said, relaying what the man said to him.
Antipas’ car is totaled, but luckily, she got away from it before the train, which Smith says had started to slow down, hit her.
“She’s very lucky she wasn’t in the car. It was a very scary situation,” Smith says. “The train had pushed the car from this intersection all the way to the next intersection.”
Just last Thursday, a driver unfamiliar with Newark, Delaware mistakenly drove onto the CSX railroad tracks near West Main Street and New London Road and got stuck. Two passersby tried to free the car and were unable to, but the driver got away safely away from the scene right after the signal gates activated. The oncoming train hit her car.
NJ Transit says the signals were working properly at the time of the collision and were checked again on Wednesday.
Two people on the train were taken to Virtua Hospital and treated for minor injuries, according to NJ Transit.
Antipas declined to comment.