LA MARQUE, Texas - The La Marque Police Department officer credited with helping halt a moving train that was dragging an SUV with injured victims is speaking about the incident for the first time since it happened.
Officer Andrew Best and a police trainee responded to an emergency call early Friday morning that a car crashed into the side of a stationary train at a railroad crossing.
When Officer Best and the trainee arrived at the crossing located near the intersection of Highway 3 and FM 519 shortly after 2:30 a.m., they realized the vehicle with a man and a woman had crashed into the train on the other side of the tracks.
Officer Best’s police body camera captured it all.
“The medic’s en route,” Officer Best shouts. “I think somebody’s trapped.”
The policeman drops to the ground and crawls beneath the train to access the Dodge SUV and begins speaking with the injured man inside the vehicle.
“You’ve been in a wreck,” Officer Best says.
The officer tells his trainee to pass him the glass breaker so he can knock out the windows to the vehicle, and soon after he breaks one out, the train unexpectedly begins to move.
“Pretty surreal. Did not expect that to happen,” Officer Best told KHOU 11 News. “That was a shock. From then on, I’m worried about those two people in the vehicle, the hazmat placards I’m seeing on the trains, and are we going to have an exposure incident now. About a hundred things are going through my mind at that time.”
The policeman is unquestionably surprised when the train begins to move, as is clear from his reaction caught in the body-cam video.
“For all I knew, I was under the impression that it was stopped,” Officer Best said. “I kind of found out after the fact that it isn’t unusual for them to move and relieve all that tension that’s underneath.”
Officer Best instructs dispatchers to contact Union Pacific as he starts running toward one end of the train, attempting to find the conductor.
The train suddenly stops a short time later. Other responding officers arrived and located the conductor. The train had only moved 100 feet.
Both victims were extracted from the vehicle that was then wedded to the train. They were transported to the hospital by Life Flight.
Officer Best held his toddler son as he stands outside of the La Marque Police Department Saturday evening. He wore a wireless microphone and stood before two, six-foot LED light boxes shining on his face.
The nearly decade-long veteran of the LMPD K-9 unit is having a hard time seeing his effort as remarkably unique.
“What else were we going to do?” Officer Best asked. “There’s nothing that we did that anybody else wouldn’t have done, too.”