Three West Windsor police officers and the driver of a car that was stuck on the Amtrak railroad tracks narrowly escaped injury when the car was hit by an Amtrak train near the Princeton Junction train station on Nov. 19, according to the West Windsor Police Department.
Police officers were sent to the area of the Princeton Junction train station shortly before midnight to investigate a 2012 Toyota Camry that had been driven onto the railroad tracks and became stuck.
When the officers arrived, they found the car – which belonged to a Saddle Brook resident who was later determined to be intoxicated – was facing east on the westbound railroad tracks.
The police department dispatcher began to make notifications to stop all train traffic because of the disabled car, police said, but a westbound Amtrak train was approaching the scene at a high rate of speed.
With little time to spare, two police officers and the driver took cover behind a building next to the train tracks. A third police officer took cover behind a concrete bridge abutment as the train smashed into the Toyota.
Debris from the Toyota was scattered over a wide area, including the area where the driver and the police officers had been standing, but no one was injured.
The remnants of the Toyota flew into one patrol car, causing extensive damage, police said. A second patrol car suffered moderate damage, and a white BMW that was parked nearby also suffered moderate damage. The BMW was occupied by the driver’s father and sister, who had arrived to help.
The Amtrak engine was heavily damaged, as were several other train cars attached to it, police said. The tracks were closed for about three hours, while they were cleared of debris.
Police officers determined that the driver was intoxicated, and issued summonses for driving while intoxicated and reckless driving. The driver was released, pending a court date in West Windsor Township Municipal Court.