Witnesses say the man drove around two cars to reach the crossing, then became stuck on the tracks.
A Dade City man was killed Saturday morning when his car got stuck on the railroad tracks east of Zephyrhills and was hit by an oncoming train.
Headed east on County Road 54 at 8:20 a.m., Goitia Warfait Marbra, 22, tried to beat the CSX train, even though the gates blocking the crossing had been down for about a minute, according to witnesses and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Highway patrol investigators said Marbra drove around two cars that had stopped for the train. He steered his 1992 blue Mazda Protege left across the westbound lane and onto the north shoulder of the road, then slammed on his brakes as he approached the gravel embankment bordering the tracks.
But with the train approaching at 48 mph, Marbra became stuck on the tracks, the highway patrol said. His front wheels were hooked around one set of rails and his rear wheels were hooked around the other, the highway patrol said.
Witnesses said the CSX engineer blew his horn twice as he applied the brakes but couldn't stop in time.
Marbra was pronounced dead at the scene. His family could not be reached for comment Saturday.
"There's nothing you can do," CSX Transportation spokesman Mike Tolbert said. "It takes a mile to stop a train."
_ A version of this report appeared in some regional editions of the Times.