Driver walks away from ‘miracle’ train crash

It’s a “miracle” that the driver of a car who drove around lowered railroad crossing arms, slamming into an Amtrak train, flying into the air and hitting another car, walked away from the crash in San Leandro Wednesday, police said.

The car was completely destroyed in the collision, which happened around 6:45 a.m., Lt. Ted Henderson said. The driver suffered only scrapes and cuts, Henderson said.

The lights were flashing and the crossing arms were down when the car ran into the train at a railroad crossing located between the Coliseum and Hayward stations this morning, according to Henderson:

“The car was driving westbound on Williams Street near San Leandro Boulevard. … It went around the crossing arms, hit the train and went flying. It came down on an occupied parked car.”

The force of the collision blasted car parts into the air, injuring a passerby, Henderson said.

“The passerby has some scrapes and cuts” and the occupant of the parked car complained of back pain, Henderson said.

All three injured people were taken to the hospital as a precaution, but their injuries appeared minor, according to Henderson.

“It’s a miracle” that the car’s occupant was in such relatively unharmed condition, the lieutenant said.

He said the three injured people “have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.” According to Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham, no one on the train was injured.

However, train No. 521 was damaged and was taken out of service when it arrived at the Hayward station, she said. Its passengers transferred to the No. 523 train.

Service was delayed about an hour but the trains are now back on time, Graham said:

“The crossing arms are there for the safety of vehicles traversing the roadway. They go down for a reason. … When the arms are down and the lights are up, it’s paramount that drivers stop and remain stopped until those arms go back up.”