Monday Jan 26 2009
Woman ‘lucky to be alive’ after near miss with train
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
Accident under investigation, Auburn resident cited for DUI
An Auburn woman is lucky to still be alive after a close run-in with a Union Pacific train, officials say. Joylee Fisher escaped with minor injuries but was issued a driving under the influence citation after a train hit her four-wheel all terrain vehicle that was high-centered on rail road tracks near Lincoln Way and El Dorado Street in Auburn, according to Sgt. David Lawicka with the Auburn Police Department. The accident occurred at about 6 p.m. Sunday when Fisher was standing in front of her quad, trying to pull it off the tracks, Lawicka said. The train engineer sounded his horn and immediately applied the brakes but could not stop in time, Lawicka said. He added that the train was traveling in a 25 mph zone. The vehicle was struck which in turn knocked Fisher down, Lawicka reported. Fisher was transported and later released for Sutter Roseville Medical Center. She was also cited for a DUI, Lawicka said. “Luckily they saw her on the tracks and started braking,” Lawicka said. “It was an alert train crew that’s for sure.” Zoe Richmond, spokeswoman for Union Pacific, said the accident remains under investigation. Richmond said the crew was interviewed and now officials are reviewing a camera mounted on the train that records what the engineer can see. A black box inside the train also records when a horn is sounded and brakes are used. She said the all-terrain vehicle was lodged under the train. “That tells you the sheer force and impact for something like that to take place,” Richmond said. The train was inspected for damages yet a report was not available. She said the train was traveling from the Midwest to Roseville. It was carrying a “potpourri” of items including, cars, auto parts and chemicals. Richmond said that unfortunately accidents involving recreationists and train tracks are common. She said often hikers will use a railroad path to walk on but don’t realize how fast a train can come. In Fisher’s case, Richmond said the Auburn resident is one of the fortunate ones. “She’s obviously very lucky to be alive,” Richmond said. “You don’t have a lot of situation where people go up against a train and are able to survive with no injuries.” Richmond said anytime there is an accident or trespasser on railroad tracks, it backs up the entire system for hours, including the Amtrack capital corridor routes. Lawicka added that police have had a continual problem with recreational vehicles driven around train tracks. “It’s dangerous not only for them to be riding on the tracks but in areas not easily accessible should they fall and get hurt,” Lawicka said. Lawicka said Fisher’s helmet reportedly was knocked off her head and rolled down to the streets below. Officials could not locate the helmet. He said Fisher is lucky she didn’t lose more. “She could’ve been drug, she could’ve been knocked over the embankment herself and not just her helmet,” Lawicka said. “She’s a very lucky person. Not many people who have a collision with trains walk away from them.” The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment.