6 dead, 1 seriously injured after Florida crash between vehicle and train

Deputies said SUV flipped violently several times before landing

Generic image of train track (Pixabay)

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. – A sixth person has died after a train slammed into an SUV in Plant City on Saturday evening, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said on Sunday that the “driver involved in the crash succumbed to his injuries and passed away overnight.”

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that just before 7 p.m. Saturday, a Cadillac Escalade driven by Jose G. Hernandez, 52, crossed the tracks into the path of a train going 55 mph. The crossing does not have gates or a warning bell, only a stop sign and a railroad crossing sign.

Hernandez died Sunday at a hospital. Five others died at the scene: Enedelia Hernandez, 50; Anaelia Hernandez, 22; Jakub A. Lopez and Alyssa Hernandez, both 17; and Julian Hernandez, 9. The sheriff’s office did not immediately say how the victims were related.

Officials said the train’s engineer and a nearby car both sounded their horns and the engineer tried to stop, but it was too late. The impact flipped the SUV several times, ejecting the five passengers who died at the scene. Hernandez died later.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister held a press conference near the scene of the crash, describing the “carnage” that law enforcement and rescue officials saw when they arrived.

Deputies said the SUV “flipped violently several times before its landed a distance from this crossing.”

Driver and front passenger taken to local hospital in critical condition after being pulled from the vehicle using the Jaws of Life, deputies said.

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Chronister said the other five passengers in the vehicle were killed after being violently ejected.

According to Chronister, there were four males and three females involved in the crash and “some of them were children.

“I think anyone who goes and sees the carnage that’s been created, whenever you compound that with the fact that some children lost their life here. Maybe an entire family lost their life here tonight,” Chronister said. “We are all visibly shaken. We are all rattled at our core tonight after witnessing what happened here tonight.”

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About the Authors:

Jacob joined ClickOrlando.com in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.