Norwalk woman flees car stuck on tracks just before train slams into it

The 27-year-old mistakenly turned onto the tracks and drove southwest for 110 feet, thinking it was the roadway.
Heather Chapin-Fowler
Aug 16, 2013


A 27-year-old Norwalk woman saved her own life as she jumped from her car that was stuck on the CSX Railroad Tracks just before a train plowed into it.

The woman, who just began a new job in town, mistakenly turned down the tracks headed southwest for 110 feet thinking it was the roadway, according to New London Sgt. Joe Hicks and Chief Mike Marko.

As she realized that she was on the railroad tracks, she attempted to dislodge her Pontiac two-door sedan, but it was stuck on the tracks. "She did everything she could," Marko said.

Seeing the train barrel toward her, the woman jumped out of the car. The accident was called in to the Huron County Sheriff's emergency line at 9:05 p.m., said Marko and Hicks.

As reality set in after seeing how badly damaged her car was the woman started to become upset, but handled the situation very well under the circumstances, Marko said.

"She was very apologetic. We assured her we were just happy no one was hurt or killed," Marko said.

Eric Jagusch, CSX Road Foreman, shared Marko's sentiments. "I'm just glad (the vehicle) wasn't occupied," Jagusch said.

No charges will be filed in the incident. "We're not going to add insult to injury," Marko said.

The woman told police she had just got off work and was headed to North Fairfield when the accident occurred.

Both police officers arrived within seconds of the emergency dispatch call while the car was still in the path of the train, but it was too late to do anything but watch as the train engineer tried to stop.

"We were kind of helpless. We both pulled up and saw the car get hit," Marko said.

The train pushed the sedan about 170 feet down the tracks, leaving debris in its path.

The train tracks remained closed after 11 p.m. as the accident scene was investigated and cleaned up.



back up? but glad she ok....... I have family that work on the trains and they can see straight into the cars when they hit them and see everything......


That god she is ok. Cars are replaceable. People aren't. BBBBUUUUUTTTTTT......... How in the heck do you drive down railroad tracks thinking you are on a road? A car that low would definitely be dragging on something (rail, ties, etc). Glad she didn't get hurt though. I'd hate to turn that insurance claim in!


Sounds like she was on something besides the railroad tracks


Only a woman...


oh because men never do stupid things in cars...

Everyone is fam...

Or not in a car ;)


It was by the grace of God that she had the common sense to get out of the car and get clear of the tracks .
You People are so cold hearted , I am sure she feels bad enough without the mean comments that are on here


Common sense? She was driving down the railroad tracks! I doubt she has much sense at all.


Here's hoping she knows the difference between tracks and a road , now. SMH


Come on !drug test her!look at her phone calls at that time?text?she should take her driving test over?


You people never cease to amaze me. Right away you criticize her. She was unfamiliar with the area and what she did is very feasible. She had just gotten off work. The area is very dark at night & making that turn onto East Main can be tricky if you don't know it. Leave her alone. Thank God she wasn't hurt or killed.


No. it is not feasible. I've driven in many areas I was unfamiliar with, I've crossed many railroad tracks I was unfamiliar with, and yet I have never tried to drive down the tracks. I don't know ANYONE else who has either. It is not something a non-impaired driver would do.


It was barely 9 pm, not that dark, and DRIVING ON the tracks had to be a pretty ROUGH ride. How could you not know something was wrong?



This would be a great defense for vehicular manslaughter. I'll have to remember this next time someone turns down a road they are unfamiliar with at dusk and hits a child.


I actually knew a guy who did this too...of course he was falling down drunk at the time....


NO CHARGES? Just who is this woman? She must be 'somebody'!


It this would have been a guy he would have gotten a ticket.


just because she was unfamiliar with the area.. doesn't mean ANYTHING. how in the world do you turn onto train tracks thinking you're on the road??? that is the DUMBEST thing i've ever heard. drug test her, test her for alcohol, check her phone records. theres more to this story then we know!!!


Even the police get charged for failure to control if they wreck...i.e. Officer Corbin. It wasn't dark out when this was dusk. Thank God it wasn't a child that she hit and drug under her car for 110 feet. She obviously was not being a responsible driver and could have been charged with failure to control, reckless operation, failure to signal,improper lane violation, trespassing and property damage. And she might not be just getting away with this. CSXT has their own police and laws and can press charges themselves so just because New London is being derelict doesn't mean this is over for her. The stupidity of some people and those who support them always amazes me.


You sad, pathetic, lonely people.


I prefer tax paying, libertarian, veteran...but I see how you could translate it the way you did...haha


Probably more accurate would be pathetic, heartless, women-hating, tax paying, libertarian veteran.


Easy there said she was ok. She didn't die and no one was hurt. So now....comes the jokes and name calling. If it was a man I would have bashed him the same. Regardless of sex if someone drives 110 feet down railroad tracks and doesn't know it, there's something to be said about the persons decision making abilities. Do you think a smart person would have driven that far? She was hitting a railroad tie every couple of feet at whatever speed and thought it was the road? Come on now we both can agree that is pretty stupid. And if she drove that far going forward couldn't she at some point stopped, put it in reverse and backed off the tracks before driving 110 feet? Common sense man, common sense. It wasn't used, logic wasn't that brings me to the conclusion that it was a stupid decision. She was the only one in the car at the time so that tells me she made the decision with no outside influence. Since she made the stupid decision that makes her a stupid person by default. This kind of falls under the Forrest Gump saying, "Stupid is as stupid does". I don't make the rules.


This is the biggest BS story I have ever read on here!

retired and happy

Ok enough of these ridiculous comments. I am a long time resident, live close to the tracks and have seen this happen many times. I requested a copy of the report and for $3.00 (public records request)I received a detailed account of the events. The Chief walked me through the report and explained the events of that night. First of all the car did not travel 110 ft. The driver turned left a short distance, realized she was on the tracks and attempted to back up, then got stuck. The 110 ft. was the train dragging it down the tracks after it was struck.
There was no impairment detected by either officer and both agreed under the circumstances a citation was not warranted.
He further explained that that the "railroad police" would not investigate the accident.
Also there are no separate laws for the railroad or other jurisdictions "We all follow the ORC or the Ohio Revised Code" the Chief stated.
So there it is The truth,the whole truth and nothing but the truth!


Thank you. Unfortunately facts always seem to get in the way with most.


Perhaps YOU need to look at the report again, or ask for MORE clarification. The numbers in the article tell a different story, to wit: "turned down the tracks headed southwest for 110 feet", and further "The train pushed the sedan about 170 feet down the tracks, leaving debris in its path." Just those two quotes alone are enough for me. She DROVE 110 feet ON THE TRACKS. Bumpety-bump. Distracted? Probably, but that is more likely than impaired, which was ruled out by her getting out of the car, rather than looking at the pretty light! Sorry, but there is some kind of negligence there, but, again, why add insult to injury. Oh, wait, she WASN'T injured. Hmmm....


I can assure that car didn't drive down the tracks it would have to have 6 inches of clearance and that looks to be a G6


This is actually important enough for you to go and pay $3.00 for? Wow... I didn't think I had a life...which I probably don't, but I wouldn't waste my time or money to go get a report. Wow. Retirement must be grand.


Actually the railroad is regulated by the Federal Government NOT the Ohio Revised Code. This Police Chief's talking out his..Well you know. Makes you wonder sometimes. There's no need for railroad police if no one was hurt.