MIAMI (WSVN) - Two people have been transported to the hospital after a Brightline train collided with an SUV in Miami.
City of Miami Police and Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene of the crash along North Miami Avenue and 20th Street, at around 8:30 a.m., Thursday.
A picture provided to 7News showed police near a white SUV involved in the crash.
According to a witness, the guardrail went down and hit the vehicle shortly before the train came.
Officials said two of the three people inside of the vehicle were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Two of the occupants were able to get out of the SUV on their own. The third had to be rescued out of the back of the vehicle by first responders.
“Immediately we made access into the vehicle, which had one male victim inside. We were able to remove him from the rear of the hatchback because the crossguard arm had impaled itself into the window of the vehicle,” said City of Miami Fire Rescue spokesman Pete Sanchez. “The two other passengers had self-extricated themselves when we arrived, and we assessed all three on the scene.”
Amazingly, all three victims will be OK.
7Skyforce hovered above the scene as it was being cleared out.
Witnesses said that it appeared the driver stopped just as the guard rails were coming down.
“The car was stuck in between the guard rails, and the train saw it from a long distance away, was honking it’s horn,” said witness Nickolas Delovata.
Despite the warning, the driver did not move and, moments later, was struck.
Photos show the guard arm poking through the banged up car’s driver side window.
“I see sirens, I see police cars and the yellow red tape,” said Preston Pugh.
Pugh was on his way to work Thursday when he saw the aftermath of the collision, which gave him a terrifying sense of deja vu.
“Like, all of a sudden, ‘Oh, my God, I hope this isn’t a train accident’,” said Pugh.
He claims the morning before, at the same crossing, he had a close call of his own.
Pugh said that when he first pulled up on Wednesday the gate arm was working fine, going down when a northbound train made it’s way through.
He says when it cleared and the few cars in front of him began crossing something occurred.
“As I am approaching the tracks, and the gate slams on the top of my car. There was no indication that the gate was going to go down until it did,” said Pugh.
He said he was stunned for a second then hit the gas and made it through.
“In about eight to 10 seconds later, a southbound Brightline train was coming, and had I hesitated a little while longer, that train would have hit me,” said Pugh.
He said the dings on his car are from when the gate came down on him.
He wants investigators to make sure the arm isn’t malfunctioning but said he is thankful he made it out safely and relieved to hear that the people from the crash are expected to be OK.
“Please don’t try to beat the guard rails. Please don’t go over tracks if you see a train coming thinking you can beat it, because it can be a tragedy,” said Sanchez.
A 7News viewer provided cellphone video showing the moments right after the crash as one person got out of the vehicle.
This marks at least the fifth accident involving Brightline trains since the rail reopened in December.
Each one has been a painful reminder how important it is to be safe on the tracks.
“Always treat a train track like a train is coming,” said Sanchez.
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