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6 dead, including 3 children, after being hit by train in Florida

Family members were in an SUV hit by a freight train, causing the car to flip multiple times and violently eject them from the vehicle.
Posted at 8:15 AM, Sep 25, 2023

A Florida family is dead after their SUV was hit by a freight train going 55 miles an hour, according to authorities.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Saturday night that the SUV flipped several times and violently ejected five people, including three children, in Plant City.

It was later confirmed Sunday afternoon that the driver died at the hospital.

The deceased victims have been identified as 52-year-old Jose G. Hernandez and passengers 50-year-old Enedelia Hernandez, 22-year-old Anaelia Hernandez, 17-year-old Jakub A. Lopez, 17-year-old Alyssa Hernandez, and 9-year-old Julian Hernandez.

Another passenger, 23-year-old Guillermo E. Gama III, is currently being treated at Lakeland Regional and is in critical condition.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) said the incident happened around 6:45 p.m. on Highway 92 and Jim Lefler Circle.

Chronister said the family was on their way to a quinceañera, a birthday celebration. He said video surveillance showed the SUV do a slow crawl over the tracks but not fully stop.

He told us the conductor and another driver honked and flashed their lights to get the driver's attention.

Chronister said the SUV looked like a crushed soda can. He was visibly shaken up and told reporters on scene the department was rattled to its core.

Scripps News Tampa spoke with neighbors in the area who said the crossing is dangerous, and they've seen similar situations before.

CSX, a railroad company that operates primarily in the Eastern United States, wrote the following statement:

At approximately 6:48 p.m. EDT Saturday, a CSX train came in contact with a vehicle on the tracks at Jim Lefler Circle in Plant City, FL. Hillsborough County responded to the scene and reported multiple vehicle occupants were fatally injured in the incident. There were no injuries to the crew of the train. CSX extends its deepest sympathies to everyone impacted by this tragic incident. CSX is working to support local law enforcement as they conduct the ongoing investigation.

The family of Guillermo Gama III has created a GoFundMe to cover medical expenses

This story was originally published by Scripps News Tampa.