BROOK PARK, Ohio-- An Elyria man made a critical mistake when he ignored the flashing lights at a rail crossing Thursday night, Brook Park police said.
It happened on Eastland Road and Route 237. According to the police report, the man drove around a truck in front of him and went out onto the tracks, causing one of the front tires on his work van to get stuck.
Video of a train hitting that van was shot by Middleburg Heights City Councilman Bill Meany, father of FOX 8 anchor Todd Meany.
"I realized the accident was going to happen because I just heard the train on its horn," Bill Meany said.
Meany said the driver was standing near the AT&T van and it is fortunate that veteran police patrolman Harold Duncan arrived at the scene to yank him out of the way before impact.
"He pulled the guy further out of the way than he was because he knew that that car was going to explode and the debris field would have probably hit him," Meany said.
The accident illustrates how difficult it is to stop a freight train. After the engineer applies the emergency brake, it can take up to a mile to bring the train to a complete stop.
A 1930 collision between a train and a Brook Park school bus that killed the driver and nine students led to many of the safety measures at railroad crossings across the country.
"Trains ain't nothing to play with, you know. They destroy you, destroy your car in a heartbeat," Meany said.
The van driver was cited for ignoring the flashing lights. He told us he is grateful the police officer was there.