Nervous and visibly shaken, Nyrtice Johnson talked to fire officials about how her van ended up in front of a train. Ms. Johnson did not want to speak on camera with News 4, but police say she drove up to a rail road crossing on Lake Street and got scared when saw the train coming.
"We have witnesses from the rail road company that say that it appears that she panicked and went to put the car in reverse and instead put it in park so it wouldn't go, and she just left the vehicle," said Sgt. Tim Ward, of the Dothan Police Department.
Nearby residents flocked to the scene to see what happened, and some say the accident might have been avoided if there were cross guards at the railroad crossing.
"They need gates to protect children when a train is coming at least to warn everybody," said Karla Myhand.
Even though cross guards were not present, fire officials say the Ms. Johnson was fortunate to have escaped from the train’s path with only a scratch on her knee.
Police and fire rescue officials hope today's accident serves as a perfect example of how important it is to be attentive when approaching a rail road crossing. And they say that if a driver is ever in doubt, always remember that a train "always" has the right of way.