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Woman who wrecked car driving on train tracks says GPS led her astray, Mass. cops say

A driver blamed bad GPS directions for a wrong turn onto train tracks in Ayer, Massachusetts, then kept going to try to reach the next crossing, police say. Cops stopped train traffic and rescued her.
A driver blamed bad GPS directions for a wrong turn onto train tracks in Ayer, Massachusetts, then kept going to try to reach the next crossing, police say. Cops stopped train traffic and rescued her. Facebook

A 42-year-old woman found driving east on railroad tracks in Ayers, Massachusetts, blamed a faulty GPS for a very, very wrong turn, police wrote on Facebook.

Police received a 911 call early Wednesday morning from Pan Am Railways notifying them someone was driving on the tracks shortly before the woman herself called to report her vehicle had gotten stuck, officers wrote.

Police found the disabled car 75 feet down the tracks from the nearest crossing, the Facebook post says. They halted all rail traffic while they removed the car.

The woman told police her GPS device had directed her to turn onto the tracks, officers wrote. Unable to back up off the tracks, she decided “try and forge ahead to the next crossing,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

But the tracks tore out the underside of her vehicle, eventually preventing her from continuing, the Facebook post says. The woman was not hurt.

“PLEASE! If you find yourself stuck on the tracks in any form or fashion, the first thing you need to do is get all occupants out of your vehicle and off the tracks, then call 911!” police wrote. “With one phone call we can issue the order to stop train traffic and then work to get your vehicle off the tracks in safety.”

Driving on train tracks can result in trespassing charges as they are railroad property, police noted. An investigation into the Wednesday incident continues.

Operation Lifesaver celebrated its 45th year in 2017, launching a national Rail Safety Week from September 24-30. These safety tips can be practiced all year long, fitting with OLI's ongoing mission of reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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