BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Bellingham police found a 31-year-old woman unresponsive and bleeding from a head injury after a train struck the car she was driving this morning.
The woman, identified as Sandra V. Mendez Rivera, sustained minor injuries. She was the only person in the car.
Officers arrived at the scene of the crash at approximately 3:15 a.m. The crash occurred on Central Street, between Roader Street and W. Holly Street. The tracks were cleared around 8 a.m.
According to both a witness and a train engineer interviewed by Bellingham Police, the engineer activated the train brakes when he saw the taillights of the car, which was on the tracks ahead of the southbound train. The engineer gave multiple horn warnings as the train got closer to the car. Before the crash, the car moved slightly forward, and the train hit the driver’s side of the vehicle.
Upon arrival, the officers noticed a strong odor of intoxicants from the passenger’s side. At the PeaceHealth St. Joseph’s Medical Center, a Bellingham Police Drug Recognition Expert investigated whether Mendez Rivera was operating the car under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Mendez Rivera was arrested for DUI.
The vehicle she was driving, a 2005 Toyota Scion, is registered to a Yakima resident.