copyright the Chronicle December 20, 2017
by Elizabeth Trail
BARTON — Pete Cocoros can’t remember exactly what happened Monday afternoon when his car was hit by a train at the crossing in front of the E.M. Brown and Son hardware store here.
“It was a nightmare,” he said over the phone Tuesday. “I don’t want to think about it.”
But he said he must have been too close to the tracks.
An eyewitness agrees. Ann Young was heading out of town and was stopped facing the 88-year-old Mr. Cocoros across the tracks.
“I saw the other car with its front end right at the tracks just as the train was coming,” she said. “I couldn’t tell if the wheels were on the tracks, or just the front end of the car. The road was very slippery with slush, and I thought that maybe the driver was trying to back up but couldn’t.”
There are flashing lights but no gate at the Eastern Avenue railroad crossing.
Ms. Young said the train was braking and sounding its horn continuously but was unable to avoid hitting the front end of the car.
Mr. Cocoros said he isn’t sure whether he knew ahead of time that his car was in danger.
“The train hit the car, then stopped,” Ms. Young said. “I could see under the train that the driver got out of the car, but I was on the wrong side of the train to do anything.”
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