Miranda Cook is lucky to be alive after being hit Thursday afternoon by a slow-moving freight train engine in Mt. Pleasant, authorities said.
“She was under the train. It was a matter of inches or it would have been a lot worse,” Mt. Pleasant Patrolman Tim Ferree said of the 19-year-old Uniontown woman who suffered a cut on her head and a broken ankle about 4:40 p.m.
“She’s a lucky girl. She went right under the engine and was under thousands of tons of steel,” Mt. Pleasant fire Chief and Mayor Jerry Lucia said.
Cook was wearing earphones walking northbound along the tracks by the American Architectural Salvage warehouse on West Main Street when she was hit from behind by the train, Ferree said. He said eyewitnesses told police she did not get off the tracks as the train’s whistle blared right behind her.
Witnesses described how “they heard the (train’s) horn blow over and over,” Ferree said.
“He (the conductor) was laying on the whistle” and was going slow when the engine hit her, Lucia said.
While she was not pinned underneath the northbound Southwestern Pennsylvania Railroad engine, she could not move because of her injury, Ferree said.
She was treated at the scene, then flown by emergency medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh hospital, Ferree said.
The police officer said Cook was visiting her mother in Mt. Pleasant when she walked onto the tracks from the salvage warehouse.
Representatives from Carload Express Inc. of Oakmont, which operates the shortline Southwestern Pennsylvania Railroad, were investigating.
A representative at the scene declined to comment, saying the incident still was under investigation.
The train, pulling about a dozen freight cars, moved from the scene about 7 p.m. with its whistle blowing as it approached the crossing at West Main Street.