POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A man has been killed after a Brightline train struck the van he was driving in Pompano Beach.
The collision occurred on Atlantic Boulevard near Dixie Highway, at around 10:30 a.m., Tuesday.
“This is just one tragic accident,” Pompano Beach Fire Rescue spokesperson Sandra King said. “You can see the car is just obliterated.”
7SkyForce HD flew over the scene where Pompano Beach Fire Rescue crews could be seen extinguishing the fire caused by the crash.
Cellphone video taken after the crash and posted to Twitter showed plumes of smoke billowing out of the train’s locomotive.
According to firefighters, the train was traveling southbound when it hit the van six blocks north of Atlantic Boulevard.
“A Brightline train traveling southbound, approximately six blocks north of here, struck a vehicle that went through the crossing gates and possibly even stopped on the tracks,” King said. “Obviously, that vehicle is a complete disaster. There is nothing left of the car. The car traveled six blocks with the train.”
Surveillance video from Pure Smoke Vape & CBD, a business near the intersection, showed the driver speeding along the train tracks before the car was struck by the train.
Sam, an employee at the store, described what she heard from inside of the business.
“I was just cleaning and working, and then, all of a sudden, I heard, like, a big crash,” she said. “It sounded loud. Like if I’m inside the store and I heard it. That means it was bad because it was really, really loud.”
The train pushed the car four blocks down the tracks before it came to a complete stop.
“We skid to a halt, and then, there was a fire, and we’re evacuated, so it was quite scary,” passenger Valli Gallentine said. “I was worried for the people in the car, and they’re not alive. I know, how could you be alive? So it was quite sad.”
Passengers aboard the train were bused away from the scene.
“You could see the sparks,” a second passenger said. “It was daytime, and you could still see the sparks coming out.”
“By the time we saw it, we just saw the smoke, but it drug that car all the way from Atlantic to this light right here,” a third passenger said.
All passengers aboard the train were moved to the rear of the train and were not injured.
“[We] hit something. We hit a car, and things were flying by my window, and we didn’t see a car — an actual car, but we saw things flying, and all of the things were underneath the railroad tracks and you can tell there was something underneath there. We were going like this,” Gallentine said. “Then we skid to halt, and then there was a fire, and we were evacuated, so it was quite scary. We were in the first class car, the VIP car, so we felt it. It was horrific.”
The driver who was killed was the only person inside of the van.
The crash remains under investigation.
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