Police: Driver drunk before car hit by train

HAVERTOWN, Pa. - October 13, 2011

Authorities say it happened at approximately 4:25 a.m. between the Beechwood and Wynnewood stations, near Karakung Drive and Mill Road in Havertown.

Investigators say the car was parked on the tracks when the collision happened.

The driver of the car, identified as 29-year-old Brian Manning of Haverford Township, is facing a number of charges, including DUI, 26 counts of recklessly endangering another person, and risk of catastrophic injury.

Sources tell Action News that Manning had a blood alcohol level of .17, more than twice the legal limit.

"[He] drove up into the parking lot of substation, got confused, tried to turn around and ended up on railroad tracks," said Deputy Chief John Viola of the Haverford Township Police Department.

Police say Manning's 2007 Toyota was hanging over the tracks between Beechwood and Wynewood Stations when it was sideswiped on the first run of the day of SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line.

Township Chief of Paramedics says 25 passengers needed EMS treatment for minor injuries or stress from the incident.

"Trains aren't like automobiles where you're wearing any kind of restraint because you don't have that type of impact-type event, it's very unusual," said Chief of Paramedics James McCans.

Those familiar with the area couldn't figure out how a driver ended up on those isolated tracks.

From where he stood, Kip Wetzel said "It's near impossible to figure out how a train could hit a car in the next quarter mile of track."

Haverford Township Commissioner Chris Connell said "Maintenance will go on the tracks there, but as for private people? No, most people don't even know it's there."

Manning was given a breathalyzer and found over the legal limit. He's been charged with driving under the influence, 26 counts of recklessly endangering another person - one for each person on the train - and risk of catastrophic injury.

Manning said nothing as he was escorted to the Delaware County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon.

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