POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of a South Florida mother who, authorities said, was killed after a train struck the car she and her family were riding in credited the victim with saving their lives.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the fatal crash happened between East Copans Road and North Dixie Highway, Monday, at around 9:20 a.m. Investigators said a sedan stopped in the middle of the FEC railroad tracks for unknown reasons. Shortly after, the arms closed, and the vehicle had nowhere to go as the train approached.
Investigators said there were three women and a child inside the car. A witness described the tense scene to 7News. “When they realized that a train was coming, they ran to get out of the car. It’s these two older females and a toddler who got out of the car,” said a woman who asked not to be identified or show her face on camera.
Family members said Hyppolite was the last one to get out of the car because she wanted to make sure everyone made it out first. “She wanted to make sure that the granddaughter and everyone got out of the car,” said Frantz Abraham, her cousin. “By the time she got out of the car, it was too late.”
“It was kind of like you were watching a movie, and you’re screaming, ‘Go, move, move, move!'” said the woman who spoke with 7News, “and there was nothing.”
7Skyforce hovered above the scene showing the 2015 Toyota Corolla, which had been tossed from the tracks, and a yellow tarp covering Hyppolite’s body. 7News cameras captured people showing up at the scene, possibly family members, embracing near the crash scene.
“She was the nicest person … she thinks about family first,” said Abraham. “That’s why she lost her life, trying to make sure her granddaughter was safe.”
Investigators identified the other two adults inside the car as Marie and Rennette Hyppolite, the victim’s daughters. They said Marie was the one driving the vehicle. The toddler was identified as Draya Hyppolite, Marie’s niece.
Witness Ari Foras said he’s thankful the other two occupants were able to get away in time. “An absolute miracle that the daughter and the toddler survived, and I thank God that out of this tragedy they survived,” he said. “It was an absolute miracle, so God bless ’em for that. It’s all we can do, just take every day.”
The survivors were taken to Broward Health North to be checked out and were later released.
When asked whether she thinks Hyppolite is a hero, Abraham replied, “Definitely, yes, definitely.”
The east and west lanes of Copans Road were shut down for several hours as officials investigated and cleared the scene. They were later reopened.
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