Rapid response on train tracks like 'slow motion,' rescuer says

June 11, 1996|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

The sharp blasts of a train's whistle made time stand still for two volunteer firefighters trying to pull an injured man from a smashed car stuck on the railroad tracks in Lansdowne Sunday afternoon.

"When I heard the whistle, I looked up and saw the train coming around the corner," said Lt. Adam Bosley of Lansdowne Volunteer Fire Company. "Everything was in slow motion after that. I just scooped him up, and Ray [Gill] and I carried him to the grass."

Seconds later, the freight train smashed into the 1985 Pontiac in which the 69-year-old man had been sitting and shoved it 16 feet before it smashed into the back of an empty ambulance from English Consul Volunteer Fire Company.

"It was really scary," said Silvia R. Jiminez, 47, the driver of the Pontiac. "My son and I were already out of the car. But my brother was hurt and could not get out right away. I don't think he knew the train was coming."

Before the train totaled her car, Ms. Jiminez, her 14-year-old son, Edgar, and her brother Abelino Palacios were heading east on Hammonds Ferry Road when she hit the curb, police said. The car spun, struck a telephone pole and traveled 33 feet before stopping in the middle of the railroad tracks.

Palacios had several cuts on his face, legs and arms, Bosley said. Because he was in pain, he did not get out of the car immediately after the accident.

"Although his feet were under the front seat, he wasn't really stuck," Bosley said. "The car door was open, so that's how we got him out. Since he couldn't speak English, I don't think he knew what we were saying about how the train was coming."

Jiminez, who lives with her son and brother in the 8800 block of Hunting Lane in Laurel, was not injured. Her son and brother were released from Maryland Shock Trauma Center Sunday evening.

Pub Date: 6/11/96

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