The driver of a 2010 Nissan pickup went by helicopter ambulance to Medical City Hospital in McKinney after crashing the vehicle into the railroad control box on Fulton Street on Oct. 23.


Van Alstyne Police Chief Tim Barnes said the department first got a call of a reckless driver on the east side of the railroad tracks and were then called to the crash. He said the driver, a 53-year-old Van Alstyne man, ran the stop sign at Tolson Street and John Douglas Road. Witnesses and Barnes said the pickup careened across the railroad tracks, then went airborne, landing atop the north side of the railroad control box. It had been carrying lumber in its bed, and all that flew out and came to a stop on and in front of the pickup. The railroad crossing arms, after the demolition of the control box, automatically came down to block Tolson Street traffic.


Van Alstyne EMS called for CareFlite, and with the help of volunteer first-responders, set up a landing zone for the helicopter on the railroad tracks’ west side.


As paramedics transferred the wounded driver from their waiting ambulance to the helicopter, a train could be seen coming southward on the tracks. However, as railroad officials had been notified of the activity, the train was able to come to a stop before arriving at the scene.


With intoxication as a suspected factor, Barnes said the department had not yet filed charges but would order a subpoena for the driver’s toxicology test results.


“Driving while intoxicated will catch up to you,” Barnes said. “It’s not a matter of if but when. So call a friend. Call an Uber. Just don’t get behind the wheel.”