LaPlace train, car collide, no injuries

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 6, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE — A single-engine train crashed into a car on Friday afternoon, sending the vehicle spinning and landing to rest in a residential yard on Walnut Street in LaPlace.

According to Sgt. Conrad Baker, of the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, a train was traveling westbound when a 2000 Toyota Echo, traveling northbound on Walnut, attempted to cross the track.

The train collided with the car driven by Donald Dropthmore, 20, which spiraled approximately 70 feet into a neighborhood yard. Dropthmore and his passenger, Tyrell Sinclair, 21 were taken to River Parishes Hospital by ambulance, where they were treated and released. Neither the driver nor the passenger was the owner of the Toyota.

The accident happened at approximately 12:40 p.m.

Geordi Cotez, a resident of Walnut St., said he was in his house when he heard the train whistle and then the crash.

“It sounded like two cars hitting,” Cortez said, “So I ran outside.”

Cortez said he hasn’t seen an accident at the tracks in over 10 years.

However, his mother, Linda Cortez, said she remembers one happening “about five or six years” ago, where she said a young woman tried to beat the train, but got hit.

Cortez, who has lived at the address for over 30 years, said she only remembers about three or four accidents there.

The speed limit on Walnut is 20 mph, and there are no crossing gates at the tracks.

Baker said Dropthmore was cited for failure to yield at a railroad crossing, as well as driving without a license.