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Caught On Video: Freight Train Slams Into Car Stuck On Railroad Tracks

CONGERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A violent collision between a freight train and a car was caught on camera in Rockland County on Christmas Eve.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, the driver told police she got confused trying to make a turn and ended up stuck on the tracks.

The black sedan got stuck on the tracks on Lake Road in Congers around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

The driver managed to get out of the car just in time and was not injured.

Richie Donovan was a Good Samaritan who helped the driver escape injury. He and others were trying to move the car to safety when: "Next thing you know, you look around the corner and the train was right there. Horns were blaring and everything."

Donovan captured video from the scene on his smartphone. Another man got a second angle.

"This is not good! This car is about to get crushed!" Donovan said in the video.

The car was indeed demolished after being smashed by the CSX freight train.

The train was moving at a pretty good clip when it struck the sedan. The engineer applied the brakes, but
still managed to push the car about a mile down the tracks.

The driver told Clarkstown police she got confused trying to make a right-hand turn onto Rockland Avenue. The road is just a few feet on the other side of the tracks.

"She said she made a wrong turn," Donovan said. "She had no idea, and I said: 'I've lived her my whole life, born and raised. This is a common occurrence here.'"

Clarkstown police said it was a reminder about dangers at rail crossings.

"Take their time -- at night with no moonlight it's very dark, tough to see," said Clarkstown police Public Information Officer Pete Walker. "Just take a little bit more time and make sure you're making good decisions."

"I had her by the arm. I was telling her, 'Got to get away from the car,'" Donovan said. " I know she wanted her pocketbook and stuff out of the car, but in a situation like that, I think your life's a little more important than a pocketbook or cellphone."

Police said lighting at the crossing was recently improved. The town will talk with CSX Railroad to discuss additional safety measures.

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