(Orland, Florida – May 4, 2011)
Two young girls, passengers in the back seat of their father’s Toyota Prius, were injured and narrowly escaped death Tuesday night at 8:35 P.M. when a CSX train struck the vehicle.
Andrew Sher, 41, was driving on Highland and over the CSX Railroad tracks crossing Orange Avenue, with his daughters, 9-year-old Olivia and 7-year-old Emily. Sher did not notice the crossing gates to be down until he was on the tracks.
As horrified onlookers watched, Sher tried first to back his car off the tracks, but when he could not, he exited the driver’s seat and attempted to extricate his daughters, both of whom were belted in the car’s back seat. Although the younger girl was able to unfasten her seat belt, she could not escape before the train hit the Prius.
As the locomotive hit the driver’s side, the youngest was flung from the car and into a chain-link fence 10 feet from the tracks. Her sister, still in the car, was dragged about 200 feet before the train stopped. Firefighters responding to the scene found the younger girl bleeding from the nose and she was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Her older sister, complained of pain in her right foot, and received treatment at the scene.