Woman killed when train hits vehicle in South Heidelberg

 

A Berks County woman was killed when her SUV was struck by a freight train as she tried to turn her vehicle around on the tracks.

The crash happened around 2:30 a.m. Thursday on the tracks across Krick Lane, off Penn Avenue, in South Heidelberg Township, police said.

Police told 69 News that one train was stopped and blocking the crossing, leading them to believe that the SUV's driver was turning around to go another way.

As she was doing so, a westbound train struck the SUV and pushed it about a half-mile along the tracks before it hit the stopped train, police said.

The driver, identified by police as Naomi Gonzalez, 41, of South Heidelberg Township, died at the scene.

A witness told police he was stopped at the train crossing and the signals were working at the time of the crash, officials told 69 News.

Rescue crews from Berks and Lebanon counties worked for hours to remove the victim from the mangled vehicle.

"It's an extremely technical rescue operation to get the victim out, because it's a very tight space the firefighters are working in," said Chief Leon Grim, South Heidelberg Township Police Department.

"With the humidity and the higher temperatures out this morning, we're worried about people being hydrated," said Chief Jared Renshaw, Western Berks Fire Department. "We called in two additional companies to assist."

Krick Lane reopened to traffic shortly after 10 a.m. Train traffic along the tracks has also resumed.