Train Wreck Victim Describes Crash

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WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) – A passenger who was on the Arkansas-Missouri excursion that wrecked last week near West Fork is now sharing his experience.

(Click here to read more about the crash)

Jeff Randall, 53, was on the train last Thursday (Oct. 16) with his 79-year-old father while away from St. Louis on vacation in Arkansas.

“We had been waiting there about 30 to 40 minutes, waiting for the [rescue] engine to come,” Randall said.

The train was in need of assistance, as staff on board said it could not gain traction due to wet leaves on the railroad.

As the rescue engine was approaching the train, it collided with it. The engine was traveling at 25 miles per hour when it hit the train head-on.

“We had no warning. It was just all of a sudden a big bang,” Randall said. “I just flew forward and hit the seat in front of me. It almost sounded like an explosion when we hit. Everybody flew. A lot of people were yelling and screaming. People flew everywhere. There were people with cuts, people with injuries.”

Randall said his elderly father was sitting near him when the train wreck happened.

“[The collision] snapped the back of his chair off,” Randall said. “There were people on the floor. There were people hurt way worse than me; a lot of cuts on their heads.”

Reflecting on the accident, Randall questioned his safety.

“It would have been great if I had a seat belt or something, because I just flew right across into the seat in front of me,” Randall said.

Randall said he tried to walk off the train, when he realized he was more injured than he had thought.

“My legs were injured pretty bad,” Randall said. “And I can barely walk right now.”

A week after the accident, Randall said he still is in pain.

“I can`t even stand on it, it hurts so bad,” Randall said.

Randall was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

Looking back, Randall said the wreck was traumatic.

“It was the worst thing I had ever seen,” Randall said.

He told 5NEWS railroad officials said they will pay his medical bills. They also refunded him $146 for his train tickets.