A northbound freight train rumbling through downtown Kent Wednesday night struck a car that was high-centered on the tracks and pushed it about three blocks before it could stop.
The 21-year-old driver of the car from Burien and his male 25-year-old passenger from Seattle were able to get out of the car but then along with Kent police watched the train hit the car a few minutes later. No one was injured. The car, a 1991 Nissan Sentra, was seriously damaged.
Kent police spokesman Lt. Pat Lowery said the driver was eastbound on Smith Street near the Sound rail station about 11 p.m. when he took a right turn onto the tracks, apparently thinking it was a street.
The car became wedged on the tracks and couldn’t be moved.
Police called Burlington Northern Sante Fe railroad which owns the tracks to alert them to the stuck car, but Lowery said the message didn’t get to the train crew in time. A tow truck couldn’t get there in time, either.
Three minutes later, the train hit the car. Lowery said he didn’t know the speed of the train but trains are allowed to go up to 40 mph through the city.
Lowery said a case of beer was found on the front seat of the car. The driver is being investigated for DUI and also could face a negligent driving charge, he added.