ELK RIVER, Minn. (AP) — A mother is recounting a terrifying ordeal as she worked to free her toddler from their car before a train struck the vehicle at a railroad crossing in eastern Minnesota.
Anja Bochenski was driving her 15-month-old son, Henry, to day care Monday in Elk River when she waited at a crossing for a train to pass. The crossing arms rose and she drove across the tracks, but the gates dropped again as another train approached. As her car slid, another vehicle struck it and pushed it into the path of the oncoming Northstar commuter train. Bochenski couldn't get off the tracks.
"It wouldn't go," she said. "I put it into park, I put it into reverse, I put it into drive, and nothing would happen. So I thought, 'OK, I gotta get out of the car." Bochenski couldn't get her door open.
"I just started frantically pushing every button on the door to see if something would work, and the windows went down," Bochenksi said. "So I was able to unbuckle and crawl out of my window."
She ran around the car to reach Henry, who was in a car seat in the back. But the train was coming closer and honking. Bochenski didn't have enough time to get him out.
She watched in horror as the train struck the car, spinning it around and around. She imagined the worst.
"It's like your mind wants you to think that it didn't happen, or that it was a bad dream," Bochenski said. "You just don't want to believe that it was real."
But, when she rushed to the vehicle, she found her son crying, but OK. They rode to the hospital in an ambulance so Henry could be checked. He was shaken, but had no injuries expect a bruise on his collarbone from the car seat strap.
Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com