Two women who escaped from their car when it became stuck on train tracks in Riverside overnight were killed when the train hit the vehicle and dragged it over them as they walked away, apparently struggling in their high heels, authorities said today.
"This was really a freak situation," said Steven Frasher, a Riverside police spokesman. "The two women seemed to just get caught in a bad situation, and we don't know how much warning they had before the collision."
Investigators believe that shortly after midnight, a 1996 Honda Passport turned southbound from Mission Inn Avenue onto a crushed rock shoulder that parallels the train tracks and became stuck in the gravel on the train tracks while attempting a U-turn.
The two women, the car's only occupants, then got out of the car and were trying to walk back to Mission Inn Avenue when the train struck the vehicle, Frasher said.
The impact wedged the car between the train and a tall block wall that runs closely adjacent to the tracks, dragging the vehicle toward the women. The driver, 23, and her passenger, 18, were both residents of San Bernardino. They were not immediately identified, while authorities contacted their relatives.
The women were trapped between the train and the block wall and crushed by the vehicle as it was dragged over them, Frasher said.
"It appears they were in high heels and having a hard time getting away quickly with the gravel they were walking on," he said.
At 12:55 a.m. today, Riverside police officers were called to the scene, Frasher said. The women were taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where the 18-year-old was pronounced dead. The 23-year-old died at approximately 6:30 a.m., Frasher said.
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