The mother of a 15-month-old boy stuck in her car during a crash with a Northstar commuter train says it was "sheer terror" watching the incident unfold.
Anja Bochenski tells WCCO that her son, Henry, only suffered a minor injury in Monday morning's crash. The mishap reportedly happened at about 7 a.m. just northwest of Elk River, at the crossing of Proctor Avenue and Highway 10.
"He’s perfectly fine, he's got a little bruise and that’s it," Bochenski tells the station. "We're just going to be thankful for the little things, every day."
Bochenski says her car slid in the snow as she tried to stop at crossing arms – but when she swerved, she was hit by another car and pushed onto the tracks. She put her car in reverse and the vehicle didn't work. Bochenski says she heard the train coming down the tracks at about 60 mph.
She says she crawled out her window to get to the other side of the car, where her son was strapped in his car seat in the back, and tried to wave at the train to get it to stop. Despite the engineer's braking efforts, it still hit the car and sent it spinning, Bochenski says.
Bochenski told the station that she feared her son would be dead, but when the incident was over, she heard her son crying, still strapped in his car seat.
After the crash, Bochenski went to a nearby business to seek help. Metro Transit initially reported that the train hit an abandoned car.
The crash involving Bochenski and her son was the first of two train crashes involving Northstar commuter trains in Elk River week. The second crash happened Tuesday at the crossing at Highway 10 and Jackson St.
No one was injured in that wreck.
According to FOX 9, a preliminary investigation found that the car stalled on the tracks.
Police say the driver of the vehicle had been sitting at the red light at the tracks and attempted to make a U-turn between the crossing arms before being struck by the eastbound Northstar commuter train. Witnesses say the three occupants in the vehicle escaped before it was struck by the second train, which was heading in the opposite direction.
FOX 9 says one of its reporters, Paul Blume, witnessed the crash.