Hardeeville woman charged after train crashes into car - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hardeeville woman charged after train crashes into car

(Source: Jasper County Detention Center) (Source: Jasper County Detention Center)
(Source: Hardeeville Police Dept.) (Source: Hardeeville Police Dept.)
(Source: Hardeeville Police Dept.) (Source: Hardeeville Police Dept.)

A 23-year-old woman is out of jail on Monday after causing a train crash here in Hardeeville.

A local business owner says he doesn't see crashes here often but knows they can be serious when they happen.

"No, it's been years since I've seen one," said Linrod Riley, owner of L&T Seafood and Meat. "I think the last time I've seen one was like in the 80s."

That changed early Sunday morning. Tangela Bowman told police she was trying to make a u-turn when her car got stuck on the tracks ahead of an Amtrak train. The train wreck was the first Hardeeville Police Chief Sam Woodward says he's seen since he's been in office, and says it could've been avoided if she called 911.

"We could have stopped that train from coming and hitting that vehicle and causing a lot of damage," said Chief Sam Woodward of the Hardeeville Police Department. "That's why I always tell people just get on the phone. Don't call for a wrecker. Don't call a friend to help you get off there. Call 911, and we'll respond and also dispatch will call railroad and notify the trains that there's a problem ahead."

No one was hurt in this crash, but Riley knows that hasn't always been the case at this railroad crossing.

"Years ago, you know growing up, I had two friends that were killed," said Riley "It was years ago on this train track, and ever since then, they put the crossings there."

The crossing arms didn't stop Bowman, and police charged her with driving under the influence and violating her beginners' permit. Woodward says officers aren't finished investigating. 

"The car wasn't registered to her, so we're trying to investigate why she had the car, who gave her the car and all that." said Woodward.

The crash caused about $100,000 worth of damage to the train, and Woodward says Bowman could end up paying.

"Somebody's going to be liable for it." said Woodward.

Amtrak released a statement on Monday saying there were just under 400 passengers on the train travelling from Virginia to Florida. They say passenger safety is a top priority and are thankful no one was injured. 

Amtrak released the following statement on Monday: 

At approximately 2:30 am Sunday, August 6, Amtrak train 53, the Auto Train – operating between Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL– came into contact with a vehicle that was on the tracks in Hardeeville, South Carolina. There were 392 passengers on board with no reported injuries to passengers or crew.

The safety of our customers, employees, and public is Amtrak’s top priority. Amtrak is a partner with Operation Lifesaver, a national, non-profit safety railroad education group whose goal is to eliminate deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights of way. With programs in all 50 states, the organization has trained volunteers who provide free safety talks to community groups, school bus drivers, truck drivers and student drivers to raise awareness of the dangers around railroad tracks and trains.

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