GAFFNEY – A Gaffney man was killed when his car was hit by a train after it got stuck on the railroad tracks early Tuesday morning. The coroner says a man tried to save the victim, but he refused to get out of his car.
John W. Mikel, 77, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash on Hamrick Street by the Cherokee County Coroner.
We’re told Mikel was driving alone in a 1993 Buick on the connector between Old Georgia Highway and the entrance to Broad River Electric on Hamrick Street around 5:00 a.m. The car went off the road while crossing the train tracks and got stuck.
Coroner Dennis Fowler says a passerby tried to help Mikel as a freight train traveling south approached the car. “The good Samaritan tried to get Mr. Mikel out of the car as the train came closer, but the victim opted to stay with the vehicle,” said Fowler.
The train hit the car.
Mikel was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle on impact. He was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy will be done on the victim Wednesday morning.
The Norfolk Southern train had three engines and 45 cars. It was headed to Greenville from Linwood, North Carolina. The engineer and conductor were the only ones on board and were not injured.