Two women who escaped from their car when it became stuck on train tracks in Riverside early Thursday were killed when the train hit the vehicle and dragged it over them as the women tried to leave the scene, apparently struggling in their high heels, authorities said today.
“This was really a freak situation,” said Steven Frasher, a Riverside police spokesman. “The two women seemed to just get caught in a bad situation, and we don’t know how much warning they had before the collision.”
Investigators believe that shortly after 12 a.m. Thursday, a 1996 Honda Passport turned south from Mission Inn Avenue onto a crushed rock shoulder that parallels the train tracks and became stuck in the gravel while attempting a U-turn.
The two women, the car’s only occupants, then got out of the car and were trying to walk back to Mission Inn Avenue when the train struck the vehicle, Frasher said.
The impact wedged the car between the train and a high concrete wall that runs closely next to the tracks, dragging the vehicle toward the women.
The driver, Renee Ammari, 23, and her passenger, Tanya Nicole Sayegh, 18, were residents of San Bernardino, according to the Riverside County coroner’s office.
The women were trapped between the train and the wall and crushed by the vehicle as it was dragged over them, Frasher said.
“It appears they were in high heels and having a hard time getting away quickly with the gravel they were walking on,” he said.
At 12:55 a.m., Riverside police officers were called to the scene, Frasher said.
The women were taken to Riverside Community Hospital, where Sayegh was pronounced dead.
Ammari died about 6:30 a.m., Frasher said.
“If the girls had maybe exited the other side of their car, they may have not been hit,” Frasher said.
“But it’s one of those cases where you might not always see the danger until it’s too late.”