BROCTON - A driver narrowly escaped serious injury Wednesday night when a car was struck by a train. The car was unoccupied but had gotten stuck on the railroad crossing on Central Avenue.
According to the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, 19-year-old Andrew J. Riforgiat of Fredonia was driving when his vehicle slid and became stuck on the tracks. Riforgiat exited his vehicle and ran to an adjacent business, The Nickel Plate Depot for help. Bartender Derek Davis, who was working at the time, recalled the events.
"We're sitting here and (Riforgiat) came running in and said, 'Does anyone have a tow strap? My car went off the road and it's stuck on the tracks.' I asked 'On the tracks like on the tracks?' He said 'Yeah.' I jumped up and said we got to get that car out of there because every 10 to 20 minutes a train is going by," Davis said.
OBSERVER Photo by Amy Vercant
Pictured is the intersection where Andrew Riforgiat had to abandon his car after it got stuck on the tracks in Brocton.
Davis said he and another individual ran outside to a truck while Riforgiat ran to his car. As soon as the group ran outside, the train whistle began to sound.
"I took off running toward (Riforgiat) and there were a couple other guys out front that went running toward him and got him away from the car. I rounded the corner and that's when the train had smacked the car," he said.
Davis said the car was stuck in a snow bank on the opposite side of the road, to the left of the first set of tracks. Davis said he had heard about cars going into ditches throughout the day Wednesday and roads were very slippery. He said the event "happened so fast" and it was not how he pictured the end to his evening.
"It was crazy and scary. First thing we said was there anybody else in the vehicle. Everyone was safe and no one was hurt. It was a big relief," said Davis. "I'm just glad no one was hurt. I wish we could have saved the car but no one was hurt. Cars can be replaced."
According to the sheriff's office, the investigation is ongoing into the incident. No charges have been filed.
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