In Hillsborough County, Florida, a train hits an SUV, shattering it ‘like a soft drink can’, killing 6 people, including 3 children.


Chad Chronister/x

The Sheriff’s Office said first responders and deputies were shocked by the scene.



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Six people, including three children, were killed when an SUV collided with a train while crossing tracks in Hillsborough County, Florida, on Saturday evening, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a news conference Saturday that responders were shaken by the resulting scene of carnage, which left the Cadillac Escalade SUV “looking like a soft drink can that had been smashed.”

Chronister said the freight train was traveling at more than 55 mph when it struck the SUV, which was carrying seven people to a quinceañera party.

The sheriff said video footage taken from a camera mounted on the front of the train shows the driver of the SUV pulling up to the crossing and driving slowly without looking either way.

The train conductor made every effort to slow down the vehicle as it approached, he said, and also sounded a long warning horn and switched on the train’s lights. Chronister said an eyewitness who parked his vehicle near the tracks said he also honked his horn to alert the SUV driver.

“In the video we can see the SUV rapidly roll over and overturn several times before landing some distance away from this crossing after being struck,” Chronister told reporters.

Chronister said deputies and first responders arrived at the collision site just before 7 p.m. Saturday and immediately began rescue efforts.

First responders were able to save the SUV’s driver and front-seat passenger, and took them to Lakeland Regional Hospital in “critical and critical condition,” Chronister said.

Chronister said the other five passengers in the damaged Escalade were “violently ejected” and were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the SUV died at a hospital overnight, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jessica Lange told CNN on Sunday.

Lang identified the deceased as 9-year-old Julian Hernandez; Jacob A. Lopez, 17; Alyssa Hernandez, 17; Anaelia Hernandez, 22; Anedelia Hernandez, 51; And Jose G. Hernandez, age 52.

Chronister said Saturday the victims’ relationships to each other were still being established, but added, “I am confident that Hillsborough County lost one of its families tonight.”

He said the scene of the accident was horrifying to behold.

Chronister said, “For anyone who goes and sees the carnage that was committed, whenever you combine that with the fact that a few children lost their lives here, it could be that an entire family lost their lives here tonight. – We’re all obviously shaken up.” “We are troubled to our core after seeing what happened here tonight.”

Chronister said the railway crossing where the collision occurred does not have level crossing arms to prevent cars from crossing while a train is passing.

It is marked with stop signs and railroad crossing indicators to encourage people to stop and look both ways before crossing, he said. There are only a few homes on the other side of the railway crossing and it is not a very well-traveled area, the sheriff said.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of the crash.

CNN affiliate WFTS reported that the victims were a family from Plant City, Florida.

Railway company CSX said in a statement obtained by WFTS that one of its trains was involved in the accident.

“There were no injuries to the train crew. “CSX expresses its deepest condolences to all those affected by this tragic incident,” the statement said. “CSX is working to support local law enforcement as they conduct the ongoing investigation.”


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