(Gulfport, Mississippi – September 30, 2012)
With very little street lighting at the crossing of CSX railroad tracks and 33rd Avenue in Gulfport, MS, a 40-year-old female driver got her SUV hung up on the south rail of the tracks during a torrential rainstorm that obscured her vision. Then at about 7:45 P.M. Sunday night, an eastbound CSX freight train struck her stranded Mitsubishi Montero Sport killing her upon impact.
Melanie Nestle was only a block from home when she accidentally turned too soon for the alley road, which parallels the railroad tracks and leads to her home on 12th Street, and became stuck. Unable to see in the pouring rain, she called her husband from her car and he went to the scene immediately, only to find a train bearing down on the stuck vehicle with his wife still inside.
Her husband began banging on the car window, shouting for her to exit the vehicle, and just as he got her out the train struck the SUV, which hit her, causing the car to be flung 75 to 100 feet to the east.
Witnesses said they heard a woman, possibly Mrs. Nestle, screaming “No! No! Oh God, no!” as her cries echoed through the neighborhood when the train hit the car.
Gulfport Police Lt. Leslee Curry said that a crash investigation was underway, while the railroad decided to call the tragic death a pedestrian fatality and not a crossing collision since the husband had successfully freed his wife from the car before being hit by the train and killed.