MATEWAN - A tragic train accident that occurred just after dark on Nov. 29, near the Matewan Depot replica claimed the life of a Pike County woman.
Matewan Chief of Police Patrick Mounts said the accident happened at around 5:55 p.m. Mounts said that, according to eyewitness accounts of the accident, the gates had come down and the driver, identified as Blanche Coleman, 73, of Ransom, Ky., went around them as she turned off of State Road 49 onto the tracks.
The train hit Ms. Coleman’s vehicle on the driver’s side, knocked her car off the tracks and pushed it approximately 71 feet before it came to rest alongside the tracks near the depot.
“I was the first one to reach her. She was still breathing, but was unresponsive. We were all hoping she might make it,” Mounts said.
Health Net took Ms. Coleman to Cabell Huntington Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:55 p.m.
Mounts says it is common for drivers to go around the gates at that intersection.
“Something like this was bound to happen. I always cite the ones I catch going around the gates when they are down and I give them a lecture. I am asking everyone please to wait those few minutes until the tracks are clear and the gates are up to signal the way is clear,” the police chief said. “A few minutes can avoid a tragedy like this from happening.”