OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Dramatic images of a car crash that led to a collision with a train were caught video. One car was totaled but no serious injuries were reported.
Wednesday night around 8:30 p.m. a 62-car, 47-hundred ton Union Pacific train was traveling out of Omaha and towards Elkhorn when the engineer and conductor spotted a car on the tracks. They had no way to stop in time.
Rona witnessed the whole incident. She may never purge the images from her memory. Rona had just crossed the tracks when a 16-year-old, driving in the wrong lane, smacked into another car – and then the railroad arms came down.
The train barely missed the teen's car. She stayed in the car and backed up only moments before the train arrived. The force of the Union Pacific train threw the other car into the ditch. Seconds earlier – the driver had pulled his passenger to safety.
Someone else caught the collision on camera.
“Back up, back up, back up. Oh my God. Oh my God,” a person can be heard saying on the video seconds before the train crashed into a car.
“I thought everyone had gotten out – but I didn’t know. I just prayed that no one else was in the car like a kid or something,” said Rona.
Many of the 18,000 vehicles that would normally use 168th Street – now travel this through the intersection at 192nd and Blondo. Traffic can back up on the commute home.
The traffic signals are up but not turned on yet since the railroad hasn’t completed its safety check. In the meantime – three-way stop signs control the flow of traffic as drivers try to figure out how to avoid the chaos. Many drivers says there will continue to be more accidents on this stretch. The accident brought on a strong sense of frustration for those who travel this congested stretch of 192nd and Blondo every day.
“They have to stop the cars from going over the tracks. It’s chaos. Everyone is terrified of it,” said Rona. “I just think it’s a dangerous intersection. I’ve seen too many accidents there."
Rona watched the crash from the north side of the tracks. Erin watched from the south side.
“I saw the train coming…and then it hit the car…and I could see the two people coming from the other side of the tracks,” said Erin. “The sound and the smell of the actual accident – gut wrenching. I’m just happy no one was killed.”
Union Pacific told 6 News it’s 70-percent finished with its portion of the signal project – working as quickly as possible to get it complete. What’s supposed to happen is when a train gets close – it communicates with the signal so all directions get a red light except for the northbound – that would be green – so there would be enough time for cars to be off the tracks. However, no advance alert system can account for a head-on collision on the tracks.