LANSDOWNE, Pa. (CBS) — The driver of an SUV that was struck by a SEPTA train is on life support after suffering an “unsurvivable injury,” police say. A SEPTA train full of passengers slammed into the vehicle Monday morning in Lansdowne and pushed it at least 50 yards.
Surveillance video shows the SEPTA train hitting a vehicle with such force, that it pushes it down the tracks. The accident happened on SEPTA’s Media/Elwyn line.
The collision happened around 9:30 a.m. and service resumed shortly before noon.
Surveillance video captured the impact as the train pushed the SUV down the inbound track for approximately 500 feet.
The video shows signals, lights and crossing gates were all activated, but SEPTA confirms a number of vehicles proceeded through the intersection anyway.
The signals first tripped when an outbound train headed towards the direction of Media came through. Eyewitnesses believe the drivers who drove through the crossing did so believing the danger had passed.
But an inbound train in the direction of 69th Street came through and that’s when the impact happened.
The female driver of the SUV was taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital.
SEPTA officials say they are disturbed at what happened. They say what happened here could have been disastrous since crashes involving cars on tracks have led to derailment.
“What they did not realize when they took that chance was there was an inbound northbound train coming with over 300 people on the train into Center City. The gates remained down to allow that northbound train to safely proceed through the gate crossing. Unfortunately, a couple drivers decided to take a chance and drive around a gate crossing and after the first two cars made it, the third car making that attempt was unsuccessful and was struck by the inbound train,” said Jim Fox, assistant general manager for system safety at SEPTA.
The train did activate the emergency brakes, but at 50 mph, officials say it is nearly impossible to come to a stop very quickly.
Miranda Rouse, of Clifton Heights, was on the train and said everyone was “in shock” following the accident.
“I was on the train and all of a sudden we felt a bump in the road. I had my headphones in and I was reading, and then all of a sudden everybody came up and was like, ‘Just remain calm, sit down.’ They told us what happened and we were all just sitting there in shock,” said Rouse.
She continued, “We were all pretty calm, everybody was just talking. We were all confused at first because we didn’t know what happened and then eventually we got told.”
There were around 300 people on board the train at the time of the accident. No other injuries were reported.