Teen driver walks away from train crash

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — A 16-year-old recently-licensed driver was, police said, “lucky” to walk away with a ticket after his car was hit by a train crossing Fort Street north of Van Horn.

No serious injuries were reported after the collision, which occurred about 11 a.m. Tuesday. Trenton Police Sgt. Bradley Petraska, head of the department’s traffic bureau, said the driver was traveling north on Fort Street in a 1992 Toyota. Seeing the signal lights warning that a train was due to cross, the driver told police he intended to step on the brake but accidentally hit the gas pedal instead.

The train struck the passenger side rear door, and pushed the Toyota across the tracks to the other side.

“Usually when we have car train accidents they’re really ugly,” Petraska said. “This kid was lucky, he was belted in. Definitely his seat belt saved him.”

The railroad crossing of Fort north of Van Horn does not have gates, Petraska said, only blinking lights that warn drivers of an approaching train.

After the collision, police cleared the scene and Fort Street was open again by 11:45 a.m. The driver was issued a ticket for disobeying a traffic signal.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)