GERMANTOWN, TN (WMC) - Authorities have released the names of a couple who died Tuesday night after their car collided with a train in Germantown.
Officials say 86-year-old Dorothy Bell and 98-year-old Samuel Bell were in their SUV when the crash happened around 3 p.m. on Forest Hill at Poplar Pike.
Forest Hill Irene Runs north and south and Poplar Pike runs east and west.
Witnesses said the car was traveling West on Poplar Pike when the driver turned onto the tracks.
“We just heard didn’t even hear the impact,” said Ashton Cope, an employee at the clothing store Beautiful People, located across the street. “We heard the train screeching, so we looked outside the trains stopping and we saw the car.”
The store was filled with customers when the crash happened. The train was on the tracks for hours with the lights flashing and the bell ringing.
“I’ve never experienced something like that,” said employee Timera Martinez. “I’ve just seen it in movies, so it was very. it was scary.”
Investigators say Dorothy was driving the car and died at the scene, and Samuel went to Regional One in critical condition, where he later died.
“Some of the witnesses said she stopped on the tracks,” Martinez said. “We don’t know if the car stalled or if she panicked.”
Investigators from the railroad gathered evidence at the scene as Germantown police blocked off the area.
According to witnesses, the railroad crossing safety equipment was working at the time of the crash.
The train eventually went on its way Westbound. People who live in the area say the tracks are well-marked.
“I’ve never had any problem coming across here,” said resident Andrew Flaniken. “The arms work. It’s busy.”
It is a sight these people will not soon forget.
“It’s just a sad, sad thing,” Flaniken said. “Really, we’re really sad about it.”
"To be that close to death and just see it, scary,” Martinez said.
The intersection of Forest Hill Irene and Poplar Pike re-opened around 9 p.m.
It is unclear what caused the crash.