Witness to Light Rail Crash Recounts Harrowing Scene

July 16, 2017 10:37 PM

A witness to the crash of a light rail train into a car Saturday night said he had "never seen anything like it in my life."

"I am surprised I did not go into shock, and I think I was close, because this is something I have never seen before," said witness Josh Withers.

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Withers is 17 years old and will be a senior at Eden Prairie High School this fall. He said he was a passenger in a car at the traffic light at University Avenue and Eustis Street in St. Paul where the accident occurred about 9 p.m. Saturday.

RELATED: Green Line Reopens After Train Collides with Vehicle

Withers said he heard a "loud bang" and when he looked up, he saw parts of the car flying through the air. He said the car, wrapped around the front of the light rail train, came to a stop about 10 feet from the car in which Withers was a passenger.

Withers said he then got out of the car and rushed to the scene, where he tried to help a female passenger attempting to get out of the damaged vehicle.

"And, at this point, I notice that the front of the car, the engine, is starting to catch on fire and my initial thought is 'pick up the girl and move her away from the car,' because I do not know if it is going to explode," Withers said.

After the woman was pulled from the burning car, Withers said he then turned to help the driver.

"And I could hardly see him because he was engulfed by the car," Withers said. "It had sort of caved in around him and he was unconscious, and I don't know if he's alive; and looking at him, I thought he wasn't alive," Withers said.

Withers said it was the most traumatic thing he has ever witnessed.

"I kind of thought to myself, 'I just saw someone almost die right in front of my eyes,'" he said.

Metro Transit said three people were injured but did not have information on their conditions Sunday night. The driver of the car and his passenger were hospitalized, as was a third person who was riding on the light rail train.

Metro Transit says the cause of the crash is under investigation.

Credits

Jay Kolls

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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