A Havelock woman faces multiple charges after she drove a van into the path of an oncoming train Friday morning in Havelock.
Sharon Ann Tull, 47, of Havelock, has been charged with driving while license revoked, disobeying a railroad crossing signal and damage to property, according to Havelock Police Chief G. Wayne Cyrus.
The collision took place around 9:30 a.m. where the tracks cross at the intersection of Greenfield Heights and Miller boulevards, and Lake and Church roads.
Tull was the lone person in a 2006 Dodge Caravan as she drove from Greenfield Heights Boulevard east toward Miller Boulevard. Initial reports indicate she had stopped with the signal lights flashing at the railroad crossing but then moved forward across the tracks where she was struck.
“She was stopped,” Cyrus said. “Her intent was to back up away from the tracks, but prior to putting the vehicle in reverse, she pressed on the accelerator and proceeded to go forward.”
The train engine, carrying 38 cars, some loaded with gravel, struck the front and driver’s side of the van. The van then careened into guard rails protecting one of the railroad crossing signals near Lake Road.
The train, which did not derail, continued down the track about 300 yards before it could stop.
The van had heavy damage to the front and driver’s side, broken glass and a large dent in the driver’s side door.
Tull was conscious at the scene and transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern, where she was treated and released.
Police officers and rescue personnel rushed to the scene, jumping between the cars of the stopped train to reach the victim. Co-workers and family members of the woman also arrived at the scene to check on her and gather materials from the van.
The intersection was blocked for about 20 minutes as rescue personnel worked at the scene. Eventually, the train was backed up, and Norfolk-Southern Railroad officials arrived and began an investigation, which included a check to determine that the crossing signals were working at the time of the collision. They also examined the train and its cars for any damage, but according to a Norfolk-Southern spokesman, no damage was reported.