Boutte woman watched train slam into her SUV

'I just fell to my knees crying'

May 19 at 5:49 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Boutte woman watched train slam into her SUV
Laura Cummings had just watched the front tire roll off her Ford Explorer and was begging a 911 dispatcher on the phone to send someone to remove her SUV off the railroad tracks when she heard the train horn.

"I just started hollering and screaming, ‘Oh my God, my tire just rolled off,” said Cummings. “I jumped ran out of my car and I kept looking back to be sure I was a safe enough distance away.”

Minutes later, she watched the train hit her only form of transportation and push it off the track.

Cummings started hyperventilating from a panic attack and had to be taken to St. Charles Parish Hospital, where she was treated and released the same day.

It had been a harrowing day for the woman who was on her way to work at around 7:45 a.m. last Thursday headed toward Paul Maillard Road when she heard a strange noise in her vehicle. And then Cummings said, “it just dropped and stopped.”

A Good Samaritan in a green truck had pulled over and asked her if she was okay. By then, she heard the train horn blowing, then heard the engineer just holding the horn and watched it slam head-on into her SUV.

“I just fell to my knees crying,” Cummings said. “I have six babies, my oldest is 10 and youngest is 4 months old, and all I could think of was my kids. I saw my child’s car seat fly out of the truck and I lost it. I kept thinking what if I’d had my kids with me.”

Cummings said she felt like she was going to pass out as the reality of the incident set in.

“I’m always crossing the track,” she said. “I’ve never had an accident my entire life, but my car got hit by a train.”

A resident of Boutte Estates, she was two minutes from home when disaster struck. Family appeared to help and she ended up in her cousin’s vehicle when she had the panic attack.

Cummings believes a seal broke that held the tire in place and left her stranded on the railroad, which is the route she takes to go to work at Carver Early Learning Center in Hahnville.

“I could have lost my life,” Cummings said weeping. “I wouldn’t have been here to take care of my babies.”

Cummings said she was grateful it wasn’t an Amtrak train because she doesn’t think she would have had time to escape the crash.

Even so, in less than five minutes, Cummings estimated it was less than five minutes before the train appeared that struck her SUV.

“I was just thankful to be here and to still be alive for my kids,” she said. “Who would be taking of them?"

Cummings said the first wreck in her life has left her distraught and jumpy when she hears a noise.

And she’s dealing with rumors that she and her children were killed in the crash, but Cummings said that's obviously untrue.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she said. “I have moments where I just cry. This is something you see on the TV. This is reality for me. It happened."

View other articles written Anna Thibodeaux

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