August 20, 2014

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SUV hits train; woman injured

WELLINGTON TWP. — A Parma woman was seriously injured when her sports utility vehicle hit the side of a train Sunday afternoon at the Quarry Road railroad crossing south of state Route 18.

Linda Lishchuk-Hupert, 55, was taken by helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland where she was listed in fair condition late Sunday.

COURTESY JEFF GARN
Emergency personnel respond to a car-train collision Sunday in Wellington Township. A Parma woman hurt in the crash was hospitalized with broken bones.

Lishchuk-Hupert broke both ankles and an arm in the accident, according to her brother, George Lishchuk, also of Parma.

He said he was talking to her on her cell phone and the phone suddenly went dead. She called him back a short time later, saying she had hit a train.

“I thought she was joking,” Lishchuk said.

The conductor of the train estimated Lishchuk-Hupert was driving 20 to 25 mph at the time of the 12:39 p.m. crash, according to the Ohio Highway Patrol.

The crossing is marked with crossbucks and a yield sign, and the speed limit on Quarry Road is 55 mph, said Dispatcher Jennifer Hovinetz.

The conductor of the train told Trooper Brad Fiala that the train was going 32 mph in a 40 mph zone, she said.

“The train operator said he was blowing his whistle,” Hovinetz said.

The airbags in Lishchuk-Hupert’s 2002 Ford Escape deployed, and she was wearing a seat belt, according to the patrol.

Despite her injuries, Lishchuk-Hupert was calm and was talking on her cell phone to a 911 operator and her relatives, according to
Matt Fridenstine, who was the second motorist on the scene.

Fridenstine, operator of North Coast Wireless Communications, said his partner, Jeff Garn, snapped photos using his cell phone.

The pair saw the train slow from about a half-mile away but did not see the impact, Fridenstine said.

Lishchuk said his sister had been doing end of the season cleaning at the UAYA Chortycia campgrounds on Bursley Road before the crash occurred.

Contact Cindy Leise at 653-6250 or cleise@chroniclet.com.