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A TRAIN driver was lucky to escape injury after the freight locomotive he was driving smashed into a ute which had been abandoned on tracks north of Adelaide.
Witnesses have told the Sunday Mail how they feared the worst when they rushed to the scene to help.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash, which occurred on a track near the junction of Calomba and Broster roads, Calomba – about 10kms north east of Mallala – at 10.25pm on Friday.
A white Holden ute had been left unattended on the track and was extensively damaged when a freight train travelling from Perth to Melbourne hit it.
A railway crossing and stop sign was damaged after a freight train hit an unoccupied ute near Mallala on Friday. Photo: AAP/MIKE BURTONIt appears the ute skidded off the road, climbed a steep gravel embankment and became stuck on the track about 20 metres north of a level crossing.
The train, which sustained only minor damage, came to a halt about 200m along the track after the collision.
There were no reported injuries.
Victor and Judy Rayment live near the crash site and were the first on the scene.
A railway crossing and stop sign was damaged after a freight train hit an unoccupied ute near Mallala on Friday. Photo: AAP/MIKE BURTON“I just heard the train blaring it’s horn, which they usually do when there’s a car waiting at the crossing just as a warming, but this was like extra long and then during that horn blaring we just heard a thud,” Mr Rayment, 48, said.
“We both looked at each other and thought ‘that didn’t sound normal’.”
Mr Rayment went to grab a torch and Mrs Rayment took off towards the crash site.
“I heard...a car door shut and it did a bit of a burnout and drove off down the road,” Mrs Rayment, 59, said.
The pair then saw the ute - and thought the worst.
“I saw the ute and our son has a white ute and then I realised it wasn’t his and then I thought ‘hell, what am I going to be looking at...but there wasn’t anybody.
“The passenger side was caved in because that’s the side of impact.”
The couple then checked on the train driver.
“He was a little bit shaken at first,” Mr Rayment said.
“He just said there was nobody in the vehicle (and) it looked like it had been dumped there.
“I would imagine he would have been thinking he’s going to kill someone.”
Mr Rayment described the actions of the ute driver as “bloody stupid”.
He said the area was usually quiet however two cars were drag racing over the track and along Broster road on Thursday night.
The ute was towed from the scene and the train continued on its journey about two hours after the crash.
Initial reports suggested the car had already been damaged before the smash.
On Monday, police reported a 30-year-old man from Owen for driving without due care, driving disqualified and false report to police after police will allege he claimed the vehicle had been stolen.
He will be summonsed to appear in court at a later date.
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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