Two people were killed after a car attempted to pass by a railroad crossing and was hit by an Amtrak train in Houston, officials said Sunday.
A black Chrysler 300 was traveling in northeast Houston about 8 pm Saturday when the level crossing signals went down and the flashing red lights and bell rang indicating a train was going to pass the Van Hut Lane train crossing, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the driver of the vehicle went around another vehicle stopped at the intersection and tried to cut through the crossing signals before it was hit by the train.
Gonzalez said the vehicle was forced into a ditch and was “quickly engulfed in flames.” The driver and a passenger were ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.
Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods confirmed the incident in a statement to USA TODAY and said the train traveling from New Orleans to Los Angeles had 81 passengers onboard. Woods said two Amtrak passengers were taken to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries. The train had minor damage on its front, and Amtrak was working with law enforcement in the investigation of the incident, Woods said.
Amtrak and Gonzalez also warned about the dangers of driving past signals that indicate a train is coming.
“There’s a reason that those arms are activated, lights and sounds are activated: To keep the community safe and alert there is a train approaching,” Gonzalez said. “It never ends well when somebody tries to beat a train.”
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