A train struck a car crossing tacks near the New Meadows Motel in Brunswick Monday. Photo courtesy of Brunswick Police Department

BRUNSWICK — A Brunswick woman whose SUV was struck by a train Monday said she had stopped at the railroad crossing before the freight train clipped her vehicle outside a local motel.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” said 61-year-old Coretta Harrison.

She claimed a flatbed car on the train struck her car at around 12:15 p.m. There are railroad crossing signs where state-owned train tracks cross the driveway of New Meadows Motel off Bath Road. She said she saw and heard the train approaching but was too close. She said she had put her 2001 Toyota Rav 4 in reverse when the train struck.

There is no gate at the private crossing. According to police, the landowner is responsible for installing safety signs at crossings on their property.

Harrison said she’s lived at the motel for about a year.

“It’s not fair what happened to me at all,” Harrison said. “I wasn’t on the track.”


She said she was taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick and underwent testing which didn’t show any major injuries, but she was still in pain Tuesday.

Brunswick Police Cmdr. Tom Garrepy said Wednesday that police believe Harrison stopped for the train when the crash happened.  Police say her vehicle was clipped by the front of the train, not one of the cars. Harrison is at fault for the crash but will not be charged, he said. Whether a railroad crossing is on private or public property, trains have the right of way, he said.

“It was a misjudgment on her part on how far she should be back,” he said.

Garrepy said police did not collect Harrison’s blood for drug or alcohol tests. Police cannot test the engineer or conductor on the train because they are governed by federal regulations, he said.

Central Maine and Quebec Railway owns the train and is also investigating the crash. The locomotive had a black box on board that records information including the train’s speed, throttle position and use of the horn.

“There’s very little speculation,” Garrepy said. “The speed of the train was obviously not an issue.”

Garrepy said the engineer told police he blew the train’s horns as it approached the crossing and locked up the wheels just before striking the SUV.

The Federal Railway Administration will get a copy of Brunswick Police Department’s crash report, Garrepy said.

Repeated calls to Central Maine and Quebec Railway were not returned.

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