BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women as a freight train bore down on them while they walked along an 80-foot-high railroad bridge.
The women lay down on the tracks as the train went over them and survived the July 10 incident, which happened just before sunrise on a bridge northeast of Bloomington. Authorities are reviewing the video (see it at tampabay.com/video) for potential criminal charges.
The engineer of the 100-car, 14,000-ton coal train activated its emergency brakes when he saw the women, who began to run.
"They're frankly running for their lives at this point in time," Indiana Rail Road spokesman Eric Powell told WTHR-TV on Tuesday while reviewing the video footage.
The two had few choices, as jumping from the tracks would have seriously injured or killed them. Instead, one woman lies flat between the tracks immediately, while the other stumbles before doing the same.
"He had thought he had killed the two people here on this bridge," Powell said of the train driver. "… Both duck at the last minute. How they survived that is nothing short of a miracle."
Officials say the women have been identified, but they have not released their names. Train personnel saw the women drive away after they climbed down from the bridge and wrote down their license plate number.
Monroe County Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr told the Herald-Times of Bloomington that Indiana Rail Road officials have turned over evidence to the Sheriff's Department.
Powell said people sometimes follow a trail up to the railroad bridge and trespass on that bridge.
"It's dangerous, but it's easy for people to get on the tracks and walk on there," he said.