Driver who hit train faces charges

A woman who crashed into a train with her two children in the car is likely to be charged.

The woman was driving through an intersection on Creyke Rd, east of Darfield, about 5.15pm yesterday when she crashed into the side of a passenger train.

Her two sons, aged 11 and 6, were in the car.

Constable Chris Caldwell said the trio were "extremely lucky to be alive".

"Her car hit the side of a train and spun around. The car is a right-off but the three people are OK. She is incredibly lucky. There was the potential for a real tragedy here."

Caldwell said police were looking at charging the woman, most probably with careless driving.

"It appears she did not stop at the stop sign before the intersection. She was looking left and the train came from the right and she didn't see it," he said.

"We're still assessing charges but it will probably be a careless driving charge. She didn't do this deliberately, but it's one of those stupid things that happen if you don't concentrate or use proper judgement."

The KiwiRail TranzAlpine passenger train was travelling from Greymouth to Christchurch when the accident happened. It continued for about 1km before it was able to stop.

A small diesel spill from the train's fuel tank was quickly cleaned up. No passengers were injured and the train returned to Christchurch for repairs.

It was the fourth train incident in Canterbury in the past two weeks.

On September 19, Angela Mary Bennetts, 37, of Ashburton, died after being hit by a train near Tinwald.

Caroll Roxburgh, 45, escaped with a broken ankle after her car hit a train in Frasers Rd near Dunsandel on September 17.

A group of four vineyard workers walked away when their car ended up in a ditch after being hit by a train at an Amberley crossing just after noon on September 16.

Caldwell said people needed to be more careful around railway crossings.

"This happens sadly too often in New Zealand. People need to be really vigilant in stopping and looking at intersections."

The Press