Crashing car leaps trains into BNSF's Belen yard

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BELEN, N.M. — A driver speeding down a city street hit an embankment Thursday morning launching himself over three BNSF Railway trains parked for fueling before falling onto vacant track in the Belen Yard.

The driver of the Chevrolet Monte Carlo, identified as Anthony Sanchez of Belen, survived his estimated 150-foot flight and remains in an Albuquerque hospital. No injuries were reported among BNSF personnel.

Local news media quote Belen police as saying Sanchez was traveling perhaps 100 mph on Baca Street when it ended at First Street, which parallels the west side of the Belen yard. There was no indication he attempted to brake for the intersection or the embankment of an irrigation ditch on the other side, and scrapes were found atop one of the freight cars, police tell local media.

"I look up and see a car coming so fast that I didn't even have time to determine if he was going to make the corner," Eric Gibson told the Valencia News-Bulletin. "He hit the train and was still climbing as I was looking,"

Tom Nelson of Belen, apparently shooting video of BNSF operations from the Rankin Avenue overpass, recorded the crash and posted it to his Facebook page. The video shows a dusty contrail passing over the trains about 10 cars behind the locomotives with the car barely visible as it flips and spins while plowing into the yard.

The trains and what appears to be a light-power set were parked at the fuels pads on the four westbound main tracks flanking the yard.

Police said Sanchez, whose age and medical condition have not been released, consented to having blood drawn to determine whether he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
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