Six members of a family tragically lost their lives in a horrific train accident in Plant City, Hillsborough County, Florida on Saturday night. Another individual is currently in critical condition as a result of the crash, which occurred when a train collided with their car.
According to the county Sheriff’s Office, the accident took place at approximately 7 pm on US-92, near the vicinity of Jim Lefler Circle. The collision happened when the driver of a black Cadillac Escalade, en route to a party with 15 passengers, crossed the unmarked tracks that lacked barriers and only had a stop sign.
Sheriff Chad Chronister, speaking at a news conference, expressed his devastation over the tragedy. “The word devastating doesn’t even begin to describe the tragedy that developed here,” he stated. “The vehicle looks like a crushed soda can. It’s very difficult to see.”
The Sheriff further expressed his deep sorrow, saying, “Hillsborough County lost a family today and our hearts are broken.”
An update from the Sheriff’s Office revealed that the driver of the SUV, identified as 52-year-old Jose G. Hernandez, passed away during the night. The front seat passenger, 23-year-old William E. Range III, is currently in critical condition and had to be rescued using hydraulic tools, according to NBC6.
The Police have since identified the five other individuals who lost their lives during the tragic incident. These victims were all passengers in the back seat and were ejected from the truck upon impact. They have been identified as 51-year-old Enedelia Hernandez, 17-year-old Jakub Lopez, 17-year-old Alyssa Hernandez, 22-year-old Anaelia Hernandez, and Julian Hernandez, who was only 9 years old, as reported by Telemundo 49.
The Sheriff’s Office detectives are currently investigating the incident to determine the exact cause of the collision.
This unfortunate incident serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to safety measures at railroad crossings. In July of last year, a Brightline high-speed train crashed into a car in Miami, where the driver failed to respect the security barrier, fortunately resulting in no victims. Additionally, in the same month, seven individuals were injured when an Amtrak train partially derailed in Lakeland, Florida, after colliding with a semi-trailer that was stopped on the tracks at a railroad crossing.
As the community mourns this devastating loss, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased, and we hope for the swift recovery of the injured individual.