Polar Express train collides with car near Lubbock - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Polar Express train collides with car near Lubbock

WOLFFORTH, TX (KCBD) - Families riding the popular Polar Express train are breathing a sigh of relief after a scary accident Monday afternoon. The holiday ride came to a screeching halt after the train collided with a red Ford Mustang in Wolfforth.

No one on board the train was hurt but the driver of the car suffered minor injuries.

Witness Johnny Garcia says he saw it all happen.

"I seen a train coming from west to east and the rails come down and I seen the Mustang come across and she didn't make it across. From there the train hit her," he said.

The driver of the car initially refused medical treatment but eventually went to the hospital to be examined for minor injuries.

Wolfforth Police believe the driver intentionally tried to make it past the flashing guard rails, when the car was hit by the Polar Express train.

Based on the popular Christmas book, the Polar Express train takes hundreds of South Plains children and their families on a tour of the North Pole every year.

Dozens of children and their families had to remain on board with their families for more than an hour and a half. A railroad inspection was performed before the train could head back to the loading station.

At the station, families waiting to pick up their children couldn't believe the story.

"I can't believe a train traveling at 10 mph hit a car," said Lawrence Desouza.

Those expecting to ride the 6 p.m. train waited until after 7:30 until the train made it back to the station. Passengers on board the train were greeted with a line full of people waiting to jump on board the next train.

We asked some of the passengers on board about the accident.

"We didn't know what had happened. We just saw the ambulances and everything," said Lauren Clem.

Many children were on board and parents reported some were getting restless. Kent Hansen says the staff did a great job of keeping up everyone's spirits during the accident.

"They were telling us it was a caribou crossing and the reindeer were in the way," Hansen said.

They passed the time however they could while police cleared the scene.

"We danced and sang and Santa came and talked," Clem said as her 4-year-old McKinley showed us how she danced and sang for Santa and the elves.

Hansen's son Sam also said he liked dancing with the elves.

Even though it was a challenge with so many children, the next group waited patiently for the polar express tours to resume.

"I just told them evidently there's a train wreck, so we'll go when we can go," Justin Noble explained to his children.

Finally, as the train whistle blew and the locomotive chugged back into the station, the children ran towards the front of the line, anxiously waiting their turn to go to the North Pole.
Wolfforth police say they will continue to investigate to determine if traffic citations will be issued against the driver of the car.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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