A grandmother who had just escaped a crashed pickup truck that was stuck on train tracks received life-threatening injuries Thursday night when a train struck the pickup, which then struck her, police said.
The incident happened at a railroad crossing in the Delaplane community of Fauquier County, Virginia, shortly before 6 p.m.
Virginia State Police say a Hyundai sedan was traveling south on Winchester Road, approaching a railroad crossing near the intersection with Rokeby Road, when the train crossing's safety arm began to descend and warning lights began flashing.
Witnesses told police that as the Hyundai began to stop ahead of the tracks, a Toyota pickup truck rear-ended it. The impact of the crash pushed the Hyundai clear across the railroad tracks to the other side, but the pickup ended up disabled on the tracks.
The driver of the pickup, a 58-year-old woman, and three children, ages 8, 12 and 14, escaped the pickup as a Norfolk-Southern train approached, police said.
However, the train struck the pickup, pushing it off the tracks. The pickup then struck the woman, police said.
Janette Marshall, who lives near the train tracks, came out of her house to see what happened.
"There was a truck overturned right by the tracks. My family and I came down last night and we said a prayer for whomever was in the truck. [We] just hope that they're okay," Marshall said.
The woman was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. The children were taken to another hospital to be checked out, and the 8-year-old was treated for a minor injury.
Neither the conductor of the train nor the driver of the Hyundai, a 24-year-old man, were injured. The train remained on the tracks.
Some residents emphasized the importance of being cautious when moving through the area.
"You do have to pay attention. This whole area here near the post office, it's dangerous coming down Delaplane Grade Road," a resident said.
Charges are pending and the investigation is ongoing, police said.