Witness says driver tried to go around railroad crossing arms in Cary

tmcdonald@newsobserver.com rstradling@newsobserver.comJanuary 6, 2014 

— A witness told an emergency dispatcher that he saw a car try to go around downed railroad crossing arms just before the car was hit by an Amtrak train in Cary, according to a recording of the call released Friday.

The driver of the car, Benny Derrick Dimery, survived, but his passenger, Lauren Webb, 21, was declared dead at the scene.

The 911 call came about 11:24 a.m. Thursday from near the crossing on Southwest Maynard Road.

“I’ve just witnessed Amtrak crush a car,” the unidentified caller said.

Asked what kind of car it was, the caller said: “It was red and small. I didn’t get a good look because he tried to cut through the guards that came down and boom, the train just hit him and pushed him out of sight.”

Police say their investigation of the crash continues. On Thursday, a police spokesman said it appeared that Dimery tried to drive his Mitsubishi Gallant around the crossing arms as Amtrak’s Silver Star was approaching at about 55 mph.

Dimery, 24, remains hospitalized in fair condition at WakeMed in Raleigh. Police said he and Webb were both from Laurinburg in Scotland County.

Southwest Maynard Road remained closed for several hours Thursday between West Chatham Street and Old Apex Road, while rescue workers and investigators responded to the accident.

The northbound Silver Star was heading to Cary’s Amtrak station when the accident occurred. The Silver Star runs between Miami and New York City and was carrying 282 passengers, according to an Amtrak spokeswoman.

None of the train cars derailed, and all passengers remained on board. The train was allowed to continue on its trip about 2:15 p.m., but the intersection remained closed for a couple of hours longer while workers removed the car.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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