A young Nebraska woman and her little sister were nearly killed on Sunday when the car the two were riding in was rear-ended and pushed into a moving train crossing through a small Nebraska town.
Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Department officials announced on Tuesday that a 2019 Jeep Cherokee driven by 22-year-old Janet Spengler of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, was struck by a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train traveling east around 10:45 p.m. on Sunday in Minatare, Nebraska.
Spengler had stopped her vehicle at a railroad crossing due to the passing train when she was rear-ended by a 1989 Toyota pickup truck driven by David Bollman, 53, of Minatare.
Spengler’s vehicle was pushed into the side of the moving train. However, Spengler and her little sister, Jenna Spengler, were not injured in the crash.
Mike Spengler, the father of Janet and Jenna, posted photos of the crash to social media over the weekend and said the girls were on their way back from a rodeo in Bridgeport, Nebraska, about 40 miles away.
“I had told her she could go, but preferably with her sister Janet, because she’s older and her car is safer,” Mike Spengler said. “There’s bound to be idiots out. Well, dad was right about everything. They were rear-ended and pushed into the train by Minatare.”
Mike Spengler credited the girls’ great-uncle for putting them in the “right car” and said that other than being stiff and sore, the two young women were doing “OK so far” and he hoped this was the worst of the situation.
Bollman did sustain minor facial injuries due to not wearing a seatbelt and hitting the wheel of his vehicle. Both cars were totaled in the crash.
Bollman was arrested that night for his second offense of driving under the influence, careless driving, having an open container of alcohol while driving and not wearing a seatbelt.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are about 5,800 train vs. car crashes every year, most of which occur at railroad crossings.