By Audrey W.
Roy DeSoto brought the squad to a stop behind Engine 51. The engine crew had gotten to the scene prior to the paramedics since the two were dispatched from different locations.
After quickly climbing out of their truck, Johnny and Roy hurried to the compartments on the passenger side to get the equipment they thought they’d need. As he pulled out the biophone, Johnny looked over his shoulder at the two patrol cars nearby, where officers were talking to who he figured must be witnesses. Beyond them was a stopped freight train still on the tracks, the front of it about a quarter of a mile past the crossing; and a red car that was barely recognizable as being a four-door sedan several feet off to the side of the tracks closer to the crossing.
“It’ll be a miracle if anyone survived that,” Johnny commented.
Roy eyed the scene as well and just nodded in agreement.
Captain Hank Stanley met his paramedics as they started to trot toward the twisted metal that used to be a car. He put up his hands to stop them and shook his head at their questioning expressions.
Johnny looked solemnly at the wreckage while his equally saddened partner met eyes with the captain’s.
“She’s a code F; never stood a chance.”
“How’d it happen?” Roy wondered.
“Apparently this young woman was in a hurry to get where ever she was going. Tried to beat the train even though witnesses say the lights were flashing and the gates were coming down; broke the end off one of the gates trying as a matter of fact.”
Neither paramedic could think of anything to say. The two just looked at the train and the car again, where they then noticed the hint of a yellow blanket covering the woman’s remains on the other side of it.
Both wondered when some people were going to finally realize a car was no match for a train. Though often times it may not be going any faster than fifty to sixty miles per hour, just the size of it should be enough to stop them from considering crossing the tracks when it was approaching. It was obvious no train would be able to stop in time to prevent a disastrous result.
Hank sighed, bringing John and Roy’s attention back to him.
“We found her driver’s license in her wallet. An officer is on his way to notify her husband now. We . . .uh. . .we also found pictures. . .of . . .uh. . .two very young little girls. Her children most likely.” He stopped at that, not wanting to say more. The thought of the two little girls learning that their mother was dead was too much at the moment. After a few seconds, he motioned to where the engineer of the train was sitting in the back of one of the patrol cars.
“He’s pretty shook up. You might wanna check him out.”
The paramedics gave a nod and headed over, their medical equipment in hand. The drug box and biophone might still come into use if the man was too affected by the accident.
Awhile later, Johnny and Roy were returning from Rampart after dropping off the distraught train engineer. Though he knew the incident hadn’t been his fault, he was a young father and was too upset from what took place at the railroad crossing to continue on with his job right away. The railway company was sending a replacement to carry on in his place.
Johnny looked out the windshield as he thought about the accident with the train. “You know, people are just getting to be in too much of a hurry.” He turned in his seat to face Roy. “Take for instance the other day. I was waiting for traffic to clear so I could pull out of a parking lot and make a left turn onto the street.” Roy glanced at him, then returned his gaze to the traffic ahead as Gage continued. “Well, the traffic was pretty steady in both directions and I had to wait a few minutes. This guy in a truck behind me apparently didn’t wanna wait. He actually was starting to drive up alongside me. . .in the lane that was supposed to be for incoming traffic. . .”
Johnny nodded. “Uh huh. But traffic cleared before he got very far and I was able to get out before he was beside me. Then he almost got t-boned when he pulled out after I was outta his way.”
Roy shook his head. “Joanne said she and the kids could’ve easily been hit by a car in front of the grocery store yesterday. A man had stopped his VW Bus to let them cross to the parking area with the groceries she’d bought in a cart and a woman in one of those big luxury cars whipped around him and had to slam on the brakes not to hit them.”
“See? It’s all because everyone’s in a hurry. I mean, what can be so important that it’s worth maybe taking a life or ruining one with a serious injury?”
“I don’t know. I guess sometimes it’s hard to keep what’s really important in perspective.”
The two men drove on in silence, once again thinking about the woman who’d lost her life because she didn’t want to wait a few minutes for a train to pass by. They were sure she’d rethink her actions if she had it to do over again. Unfortunately, she’d made it so she never would have that chance.
This came to mind after hearing of a few cases where people have tried to beat a train around here, some not ending very well. And the gate from the RR crossing near our location being busted on one end from someone driving through it.
Any typos, errors, etc are mine alone.
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