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Officer survives train collision: 'It's a miracle'

Posted at 3:43 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 18:22:05-04

WAVERLY, Va. -- An investigation is underway after a Norfolk Southern train collided with an unmarked Waverly Police SUV.

The police sergeant inside the crushed vehicle survived the collision, which was reported at about 7:30 a.m. Friday on Route 40, near Route 1003, in the town of Waverly.

WaverlyTrainVCar01.jpg
A train collided with a Waverly Police cruiser.

The officer was headed east on Route 40, responding to an emergency call, when he drove on the track and was hit, according to a Virginia State Police spokesperson.

"It's the scariest call any Mayor could ever get is to hear that their officer has been in an accident," Waverly Mayor Angela McPhaul said. "And to hear your officer has been involved in an accident where he was hit by a train, not knowing what to expect."

The fire department was called to cut the sergeant out of the wreckage.

"[The impact] caused [the police SUV] to spin out and knock down the southbound railroad crossing arm and pole," the state police spokesperson continued.

WaverlyTrainVCar04.jpg
A train collided with a Waverly Police cruiser.

"To walk over to the EMS vehicle and see your officer sitting up, talking, not a scratch on him, it was just an amazing situation," McPhaul said. "It's just a miracle."

The sergeant, who joined the department last month, was taken to the hospital where he was treated and released, according to sources.

The train continued on its route after engineers spoke with investigators.

Crews were called into to repair damage down at the crash site and clean-up spilled fuel.

Part of the on-going investigation includes how, or why, the SUV got onto the tracks so close to an approaching train.

This is a developing story.