‘The engine flew’: Witness describes train crash that killed woman, 2 teens

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Channel 2 spoke with a witness who tried to save them.

Shadari Jett watched as a black Chevrolet Impala came out of nowhere, sped past her and toward a railroad crossing in South Fulton.

A CSX train was approaching the intersection of Buffington Road and Roosevelt Highway about 3:30 p.m. Monday. The crossing arms were down. The train’s horn was blaring. And Jett was screaming for the car to stop.

“I was trying to tell them, ‘No,’” she said in an interview with Channel 2 Action News.

The next thing Jett saw was the Impala collide with the train.

“The engine flew. Debris. Airbags. Parts from the car,” Jett said. “And that’s when I pulled my car across the grass and jumped out and tried to go help the ladies.”


South Fulton police on Tuesday identified the three victims as Lidonda Carter, 40, Sant'Ania McDowell McDowell, 18, and Mackenzie Mack, 16.

The driver, who survived, was identified as Doreen Carter by Channel 2. She was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. Channel 2 reported that she is Sant'Ania McDowell’s mother.

A vigil was scheduled for Tuesday night.

MORE: Police ID woman, 2 teens killed after train collides with car

“They tried to beat the train,” Jett told Channel 2. “I just wish they would have never tried to beat that train.”

The South Fulton Police Department is leading an investigation into the crash.


No one on the train was injured, according to CSX.

“CSX appreciates the swift response by local emergency personnel and extends its thoughts to those impacted by this tragic event,” a spokesman for the company said Monday in a statement.