The crash killed three women.

Driver in crash with train that killed 3 facing charges, police say

Charges are pending against the driver who attempted to beat a train and instead caused a crash that killed three people, South Fulton police said Wednesday. But it’s not known how long that investigation could take. 

“You have to cross every t and dot every i,” Lt. Derrick Rogers said. 

Investigators believe Doreen Carter was driving Monday afternoon when her Chevrolet Impala collided with a train at Buffington Road and Roosevelt Highway. Carter’s sister, Lidonda Carter, 40, and her daughter, Santan'ia McDowell, 18, were killed along with her daughter’s friend, 15-year-old Mackenzie Mack. Carter’s injuries were not life-threatening. 

RELATED: Witness describes crash that killed woman, two teenagers

Court and jail records show Doreen Carter served in state prison from May to November of 2006 and again from September 2009 to November 2011. She was convicted of forgery, fraud and drug charges, records showed. 

Family members declined to discuss the pending charges with Channel 2 Action News and struggled to make sense of the crash. 

Santan’ia McDowell and Lidonda Carter were killed in a freight train crash 

Three dead when train crashes into car 

Photo: WSB-TV WSB-TV

"I lost a sister and I lost a niece. I lost a best friend," Rebecca Arnold told Channel 2. "To lose somebody so close, like my oldest sister, (who was like) my mom, she raised me. And now she's just gone.”

A witness, Shadari Jett, told Channel 2 the crossing arms were down and the train’s horn was blaring as Carter approached the tracks. She screamed for the car to stop, but couldn’t do anything but watch the crash. 

“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.”

No one on the CSX train was injured. Funeral arrangements for the three killed were pending. 

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