Train hits car... on purpose

Highway Patrol intentionally placed a car in the path of an oncoming train Thursday morning, all in the name of training and awareness.

The crash happened at the intersection of 3rd Street and Old Florence Highway in Darlington County.

"This doesn't happen very often where we actually do get to take a train and physically hit a car," said Sonny Collins, SC Highway Patrol.

It shows the reality of what can happen if you don't stop at a railroad crossing.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration,last year, four people were killed and 16 people seriously injured in 50 highway-rail grade crossing collisions in South Carolina.

South Carolina Central Railroad participated in the crash to educate people about Operation Lifesaver.

Operation Lifesaver says a vehicle or a person is hit by a train every three hours. Their mission as a non-profit organization is to prevent collisions, injuries and deaths at railroad tracks and highway-rail grade crossings through public education programs.

"Most trains weigh around four thousand times what your car weighs. It's the same weight ration as a car is to a soda can and you know the impact that you have if you roll over a soda can," said Janice Cowen, Operation Lifesaver.

First responders from Darlington County used the jaws of life to remove the pretend victim from the car.

"With the guys cutting the car make it very important that they know what they're doing, so they can do a speedy job to get them into EMS's hands real fast," said Paul Cavanaugh, Darlington City Fire.

The demonstration was seen from every angle by members of the Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) .

"We're taking video, photographs. We're doing field sketches. We're actually animating the crash and we're also mapping it out to scale and we're gonna see if there are any vehicle dynamics to calculate speed," said Captain Rob Lee, SC Highway Patrol.

The train's speed was just 10 miles an hour.

Troopers say they can only imagine what the crash would look like at 55 miles per hour.

Troopers plan to use the video from the mock crash as a training resource.