A video showing a direct collision between a freight train and a Midland, Texas, Sherriff Office Deputy’s SUV has resurfaced online, bringing attention to the often overlooked risk of train collisions that law enforcement officers face while on duty.
In the video, sheriff’s office SUVs are seen waiting as a train crosses the tracks. The SUV attempts to cross the tracks as soon as an entry seems available. However, hidden behind the first train is an oncoming train from the opposite direction. This train slams into one of the vehicles.
According to CBS 7, the officer drove around a lowered crossing gate. Midland County Sherriff Gary Painter stated the officer was responding to reports of an infant having trouble breathing when the accident happened. Luckily, the officer avoided serious injury.
“When I got that call that he had been hit by a train, and there were head injuries, everything runs through your head,” Painter said. “You just, you pray for the best, but you expect the worst. And thank God he’s not hurt that bad.”
The officer involved in the accident was not identified, and the infant was reportedly aided by first responders and taken to the emergency room for treatment.
Accidents between officers and trains aren’t uncommon. In January 2020, Andy Anderson, a Polk County, Georgia, police officer, suffered numerous injuries after being struck by a train.
Anderson was pursuing a burglary suspect on foot when he got too close to the tracks. He suffered a concussion, six broken ribs, a broken elbow and a broken shoulder bone.
Anderson reportedly made a full recovery, and his incredible body camera footage serves as a warning and a reminder of how quickly train tracks can become dangerous.
In January 2023, Yareni Rios-Gonzalez filed a lawsuit against the Platteville, Colorado, police department, alleging the department “failed to protect the plaintiff from being hit by a freight train while in custody.”
According to The Denver Post, Rios-Gonzalez was detained in the back of a police car when it was struck by a train. She suffered extensive injuries, including a broken jaw, teeth, arm, ribs, and sternum.
Platteville police Sergeant Pablo Vazquez had stopped Rios-Gonzalez just past the tracks, leaving his patrol car on the tracks, while responding to a criminal threat call.
Vazquez faces multiple misdemeanor counts in the case, while Fort Lupton Officer Jordan Steinke, who was assisting Vazquez, faces two felony charges.
Rios-Gonzalez also faces felony menacing charges from the original stop, where she allegedly brandished a gun at another driver.