Train, Vehicle Collide; Woman Dies at Scene; FHP: Driver Went around Lowered Arms before Crash

By Gilliam, Derek | The Florida Times Union, July 14, 2015 | Go to article overview

Train, Vehicle Collide; Woman Dies at Scene; FHP: Driver Went around Lowered Arms before Crash


Gilliam, Derek, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Derek Gilliam

The mangled and upside-down remains of a gold Nissan lay near railroad tracks after a fatal crash in Orange Park Monday evening.

Sgt. Dylan Bryan of Florida Highway Patrol said the 34-year-old driver ignored the flashing lights of the crossing signals and went around the crossing arms before being struck by an Amtrak passenger train about 4:40 p.m. It happened on North Shenandoah Drive at Doctors Lake Drive.

Eryn Nicole Spillers, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle and lived in the area, died at the scene, he said.

Two emotional women walked up to the police tape at the scene about 6:50 p.m. and were identified as her friends. Her mother was called to the scene but didn't want to talk with media.

The 11-car Amtrak train pulled by two engines had 262 passengers and 13 crew members. Bryan said one passenger reported minor injuries, but he hadn't confirmed if the cause was the crash.

The train was traveling from Miami to New York, according to a railroad investigator.

Bryan said it appears all traffic-control devices were working at the time of the crash. He said the wreck was preventable.

"It's a safety feature that's there for a reason," he said. "... Violation of traffic-control devices cause injury and death."

Northeast Florida has seen several recent train crashes where authorities said drivers went around crossing arms.

- On June 27, a 23-year-old man was killed when his car was hit by a CSX train in the 9700 block of West Beaver Street as he was leaving a Publix warehouse in Jacksonville. The crossing arms were down at the time of the crash. Another passenger survived.

- On June 7, a 66-year-old man was critically injured after he drove around crossing arms with flashing lights on East Buffalo Bluff Road in Satsuma about 3:30 p. …

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