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MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2007
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Woman injured in collision with train in Courtland

By Kristen Bishop
kbishop@decaturdaily.com ∑ 340-2443

COURTLAND — A Muscle Shoals woman underwent surgery Sunday afternoon in Huntsville after her vehicle collided with a train on Alabama 20 that morning.

According to witnesses, Janice Marie Gilchrist, 51, was driving east in a Ford Explorer at about 1 p.m. when she attempted to cross the railroad tracks despite flashing lights alerting highway traffic to the oncoming train.

The railroad crossing in Courtland does not have an arm that blocks traffic when trains are passing through but does have multiple lights next to and over the street.

Some witnesses said Gilchristís truck had its warning lights on, said Courtland Police Chief Larry Montgomery, but it was unclear whether she was in an actual emergency before the accident.

When Gilchrist approached the intersection, the train was backing into International Paper at about five miles per hour, he said.

The caboose struck Gil-christís vehicle, causing it to spin around and roll over multiple times, Montgomery said.

Gilchrist was ejected from the truck. Montgomery said she was conscious when he arrived, but she was bleeding from her mouth, usually a sign of internal injuries.

MedFlight transported her to Huntsville Hospital where she remained in the intensive care unit Sunday evening.

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