GERMANTOWN, TN (WMC) - Germantown police have released their report on a November train crash that killed an elderly couple.
Dorothy and Samuel Bell died Nov. 20 when a BNSF train crashed into their SUV on Forest Hill at Poplar Pike. Investigators say the Bells were westbound on Poplar Pike. With Dorothy Bell behind the wheel the vehicle entered the left turn lane to turn south on Forest Hill-Irene Road. The vehicle made the turn and encountered an active railroad crossing signal and gate at the tracks south of the intersection.
According to the report, five witnesses saw the crash and all five reported seeing the SUV drive around the crossing arm. One of those witnesses said it appeared the vehicle paused momentarily at the gate before pulling forward to a point that the crossing arm was resting on the vehicle’s windshield.
One witness said the vehicle stopped on the tracks for about five seconds before the impact.
The report states that the train hit the car near the left front fender, pushing it into the crossing signal before coming to a stop at the southwest corner of the intersection. The car sustained heavy damage across the vehicle.
Dorothy Bell, 86, was trapped in the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Paramedics took Samuel Bell, 98, to a Memphis hospital in critical condition but he died from his injuries.