CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Thursday night a train crashed into a car stuck on the railroad tracks at the intersection of Back Creek Church Road and University City Drive.
Back Creek Church Road was closed for an extended period of time, before it was reopened at 11:15 p.m.
It was dark and raining Thursday when Karla Richmond tells WBTV she followed GPS to turn right onto University City Boulevard. She says she turned too soon and drove straight onto the railroad track.
She says she called 911 but moments after hanging up, she heard a train coming. She jumped out of her car and watched as the train sped into it.
“There is a potential for trains and vehicles to collide because they are not separated by a bridge,” NCDOT spokesperson Jen Thompson said.
Thompson says it’s happened at this intersection before. Between 2000 and 2018 there have been 7 crashes involving a train and a vehicle.
“We’ve already got almost 40 freight trains per day that come through that crossing and then add passenger trains on top of that that could probably double,” Thompson said.
She says a widening project of NC-49 is in the works between NCDOT and CDOT and an upcoming phase will include re-routing Back Creek Church Road to Wyndham Pointe Drive.
“We already have a railroad bridge that was built under a previous project so when Back Creek Church Road is realigned it will basically start at that intersection with 49 and Mallard Creek Church and go underneath that new bridge,” she said.
It means traffic will go under that bridge and they’ll close the railroad crossing.
“There will no longer be any possibility of trains and cars to meet at grade,” she said.
Construction is set to begin in 2023 and wrap up by 2026.
According to CDOT, they are looking to install lighting on the existing infrastructure in this area, but won’t be adding new light poles until the project construction wraps up.
No one was injured in the crash Thursday night.