PLANT CITY -- Six people, including two 17-year-olds, are dead after a freight train crashed into an SUV Saturday night.
The Hillsborough sheriff says an SUV was crossing the railroad track at US 92 and Jim Lefler Circle between 6:45 and 6:48 p.m. The crossing does not have lights or arms, merely a stop sign. Sheriff Chad Chronister says the Cadillac Escalade was creeping slowly across the tracks as the train approached at 55 mph. Chronister says the train's engineer and an eyewitness hit their horns, trying to get the driver's attention.
Chronister says the crash catapulted the SUV, causing it to flip violently several times before landing. He described the wreckage as like "a soft drink can that's been crushed" and said five of those who died were "violently ejected." The driver died Sunday morning. A recorded voice on an iPhone dialed 911 to report the accident.
One adult, front passenger Guillermo Gama III, 22, is listed in critical condition at Lakeland Regional hospital.
"Hillsborough County lost a family... our hearts are shattered," Chronister said. As of Saturday night, detectives were working to identify victims and survivors.
The deceased are identified as:
Driver Jose Hernandez, 52, and rear passengers Enedelia Hernandez, 50, Jakub Lopez, 17, Alyssa Hernandez, 17, Anaelia Hernandez, 22, and Julian Hernandez, 19.