RIVERSIDE: BNSF train comes within 40′ of striking DUI driver after rollover
RIVERSIDE – A train nearly collided with a vehicle after an alleged drunk driver crashed and rolled his car directly onto a set of railroad tracks Saturday, April 23. The train happened to be traveling on the same tracks as the vehicle that rolled and had become stuck was on.
The train – which was reportedly 2 miles long – only avoided smashing into the car after a Riverside Police helicopter aviation crew intervened and signaled the train conductor to stop the train. The long and extremely heavy train came within 40 feet of the stuck vehicle, according to an official Riverside Police Department press release.
The train conductor later said had it not been for the flight crew intervening to signal him, he would not have had enough time to stop the train before striking the vehicle, according to the release. A photograph taken by a member of the helicopter’s aviation crew showed just how close the train came to colliding with the rolled car.
Riverside Police Department’s Air Support Unit – known as AIR-1 – was working a call in the area of Panorama Road and Olivewood Avenue at about 10:20 p.m., when they heard Riverside Police emergency communications dispatchers notify ground officers regarding the report of a vehicle that had become stuck on a set of railroad tracks in the area of Dewey Street and Streeter Avenue. The driver had “lost control, rolled over and come to rest directly on the railroad tracks,” the release explained about the close call.
The aviation crew responded to the area to assist and observed a BNSF train traveling westbound on the tracks directly below them. The crew quickly realized the train was on the same set of tracks as the wrecked and stuck car, about 2 miles from the location.
The aviation crew immediately flew ahead of the train and risked their lives to descend their helicopter into the train conductor’s field of view. Using their spotlight, the crew signaled to the conductor to stop the train.
Although the conductor immediately applied the train’s brakes, the train continued on for nearly two miles before finally coming to a stop. “As a result of (the train’s) incredible weight, they normally require a long distance to come to a complete stop,” a police official explained. The distance between the wrecked car and the train can be clearly seen in a photograph taken by the helicopter’s crew.
Officers determined the driver was intoxicated and later arrested and booked the unidentified man into jail for driving under the influence.
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