Local News

April 9, 2014

Train-SUV victim in critical condition

A 68-year-old Dalton man who was injured when the SUV he was driving collided with a train on Tuesday in Dalton was in critical condition in a Chattanooga hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Dalton police said Rogelio Nieto-Martinez was entering a Norfolk Southern railroad crossing on Tyler Street around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday as the crossing gates were coming down. Nieto-Martinez “then stopped for several seconds before lurching forward again and being hit in the passenger side by the approaching train,” according to a news release.

A spokeswoman for Erlanger Medical Center said Wednesday afternoon that Nieto-Martinez was still in critical condition. Police said he was “seriously injured,” and they’re investigating whether the collision was caused by him suffering from some kind of medical emergency.

The train pushed Nieto-Martinez’s Isuzu Rodeo all the way down to the next crossing at Long Street. The impact was on the passenger side. A Norfolk Southern spokesman said the train was traveling between 20 mph and 30 mph in a 50 mph zone. The train had a locomotive and three freight cars.

Witness Gabriel Queen said he didn’t see the collision, but when he came up on the scene the driver appeared to have been knocked unconscious.

“I heard the crash as it came off the track at Long,” Queen said. “I’m just praying that he recovers from this horrific experience, and I’m thankful that we have such good response teams here in Dalton.”

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