Florida Rail Tragedy: Family's Festive Journey Turns Fatal

Rachel Perkins

Horrific Collision in Hillsborough County

In a harrowing turn of events, a freight train collided with an SUV on a crossing in Hillsborough County, Florida, resulting in the loss of six lives and leaving one critically injured. The Saturday evening tragedy unfolded as the vehicle, transporting a family and a friend, was en route to a nearby quinceañera.

Details of the Tragic Accident

The freight train's massive force left the SUV — a white Cadillac Escalade driven by 52-year-old Jose G. Hernandez — unrecognizable, evoking imagery of a crushed can. "For unknown and undetermined reasons, the driver slowly crossed the tracks directly in the train's path," a somber statement from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office recounted. In the ensuing chaos, the vehicle "flipped violently several times," catapulting five of its passengers from the wreckage.

Tragically, Jose G. Hernandez and Enedelia Hernandez, 50, along with their three children, Anaelia Hernandez, 22; Alyssa Hernandez, 17; Julian Hernandez, 9; and a family friend, Jakub A. Lopez, 17, all lost their lives. The name and age of the critically injured passenger, currently under medical care, have been withheld.

Scene Near Quinceañera Venue

The accident site, located near the crossroads of U.S. Route 92 and Jim Lefler Circle, bore testament to the ill-fated journey. Sheriff Chad Chronister indicated the victims were likely headed for a quinceañera taking place just across the railroad crossing.

Community & Support

Sheriff Chronister, visibly affected, extended his condolences, stating, "This tragic loss is immense, and the members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and I are praying for peace and comfort for all those impacted." Recognizing the profound impact of such a calamity, the sheriff's Victim Specialist Unit has been mobilized to provide assistance to those close to the Hernandez family. "Those impacted by this devastating loss were met with compassion and the highest level of professionalism," Chronister added, emphasizing the community's dedication to rallying behind the bereaved.

As investigations continue, the incident serves as a solemn reminder of life's unpredictability and the importance of safety awareness at rail crossings. The Hillsborough community, meanwhile, grieves the loss of a family whose festive evening took such a tragic turn.

Source: abcnews.go.com

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I'm an avid reader and writer. I spend most of my time in Florida and Maine and write about the unique qualities that make each of them so special as well as news that makes an impact on our community.

Brewer, ME

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