FATAL MetroRail Accident in Austin
AUSTIN -- One person is dead after a Capital Metro commuter train hit a car in North Austin.
The accident happened just before 8 a.m. at 3300 Oak Creek Drive near South MoPac and Parmer Lane.
Police say a 32-year-old man was driving when he pulled out of a private driveway and was hit by the MetroRail train. The impact pushed the car down the tracks. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Two boys injured in the car were taken to Dell Children's Hospital. Officials say it appears their injuries are non-life threatening.
Spc. Jeffrey Hinojosa, who works at Camp Mabry was the first person on the scene. He helped rescue the two children from the car.
"The second child, I didn't know he was in there until the other guys came on to the scene. They were saying there was another child in there. We began hearing him scream, they broke the back window and by then I just grabbed the door handle. I thought he said it was jammed, and I just pulled it open. Three other guys went in there and cut it out, cut him out, cut the seatbelt off and stuff and got him out," Hinojosa said.
"I saw a little boy he was like 'ahhh' and he had blood and stuff coming down his face and was running toward the military guy and then you know ambulance and stuff started showing up." train passenger Jordan Hopkins said.
The train was packed at the time. Capital Metro spokesperson Erica McKewen says there were 128 people on board, including the engineer. Those passengers described hearing the horn sound, then feeling the train slow down. Moments later they felt a jolt and then saw debris and dust fly up.
"We knew that we hit something and then we saw dust careening on the side of the train," one passenger said.
Hopkins says he looked out the window and saw drivers on the frontage road pulling over and running toward the front of the train.
Capital Metro dispatched six buses to transport the rest of the passengers to their destinations. Paramedics took one woman to the hospital for an injury that they say wasn't related to the crash.
Austin Police spokesperson Sgt. David Daniels says officers are investigating. Witnesses described hearing the conductor blow the train horn. The small white car pulled out from a private drive. McKewen said the road is one of 13 private crossings and doesn't have crossing arms to protect drivers from oncoming trains. Instead, she said there are several warning signs, including a stop sign and a train crossing sign. McKewen said conductors don't typically blow their horns as they pass through intersections.
Capital Metro reported that trains were still running Monday between Leander and Lakeline and Kramer and downtown Austin, but schedules would be impacted. Officials say MetroRail will be up and running this afternoon.
The agency hasn't identified the driver or said what disciplinary action will be taken, if any.
This is the third collision involving Capital Metro's rail and the first fatality.