NEW PALESTINE — Adam Vaal was sitting in his car Friday afternoon, watching the flashing lights on the train tracks at Gem Road when he saw a northbound car coming toward him at full speed.
“I honked my horn because it was clear he was going to run right into the oncoming train, and he just slammed right into it,” Vaal said.
Vaal watched in disbelief as the car struck the train and then disappeared into a ditch as the train cars rolled by.
Vaal jumped out of his car just as the train screeched to a halt. He scrambled to the car, which was sitting upright in a ditch with a young man struggling to climb out.
“I walked down the slope and just kind of reached out to him and grabbed his hand and helped him up,” Vaal said.
New Palestine High School senior Alex Hall is lucky to be alive, officials say. The 18-year-old was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but police officials at the scene said he appeared to be uninjured.
“When I first arrived on the scene, he was standing and talking to other people who were here,” New Palestine Police Chief Bob Ehle said. “He seemed fine and said he just didn’t see the train.”