Freight Train Smashes Into SUV And Kills 6 People Who Were All Relatives, Authorities Say

(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Authorities said a freight train struck an SUV at an unguarded crossing in Plant City, Florida, on Saturday, resulting in the deaths of six people from an extended family, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the incident happened just before 7 p.m. Saturday when a Cadillac Escalade, driven by 52-year-old Jose G. Hernandez, crossed into the path of a train traveling at the speed of 55 mph. The crossing reportedly doesn’t have gates or a warning bell, but only a stop sign and a railroad crossing sign warning drivers approaching it. Despite the train’s engineer and a nearby car sounding their horns and the engineer attempting to brake, it was too late, according to The AP.

The impact caused the SUV to flip several times and five passengers were ejected, dying at the scene, per The AP. The driver is said to have succumbed to his injuries later.

In addition to Hernandez, the accident victims were identified as Enedelia Hernandez, 50; Anaelia Hernandez, 22; Jakub A. Lopez and Alyssa Hernandez, both 17; and Julian Hernandez, 9, The AP noted. The family was reportedly en route to a birthday party at a home situated just across the tracks, Sheriff Chad Chronister said. (RELATED: Norfolk Southern Train Conductor Killed After Collision In Ohio)

“The word ‘devastating’ doesn’t even begin to describe the tragedy that unfolded here. Hillsborough County lost a family today, and our hearts are shattered,” the sheriff said at a press conference.

The sheriff’s office didn’t immediately clarify how exactly the victims were related. The reason the SUV moved into the train’s path remained unclear as of Tuesday, the outlet noted.