Virginia State Police hope that the black box video from the Amtrak train involved in Wednesday's accident can shed some light onto how it happened. The incident near Brands Flat killed an Augusta County woman whose 2001 GMC Jimmy SUV was on the tracks.
Trooper G.W. Clifton said he is waiting for Amtrak to email the black box video that would show what happened prior to and at the time of the accident that killed 47-year-old Andrea Gum, a Goose Creek Road resident.
The state police said the vehicle left a private driveway and pulled into the path of the train. The eastbound Cardinal train's engineer attempted to brake the train for the GMC Jimmy, but was unable to stop in time.
The SUV was thrown off the tracks and overturned several times. Gum was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene. None of the train's 183 passengers were injured, and the train had only minor damage. Amtrak said the train's destination was New York. The accident happened about 2:13 p.m.
Clifton said one of his colleagues has interviewed the train's conductor. And he said he believes the front passenger part of Gum's vehicle was on the tracks at the time of the accident. The trooper said the video will help in confirming this.
Gum had approached the tracks from a private driveway at her residence, which is adjacent to the train tracks.
A life devoted to service
Gum's husband, Carlos, said his wife made to the trip across the railroad tracks onto Goose Creek Road two to three times a day. He has no explanation for what happened on Wednesday.
He said his wife had not felt well just prior to the accident. He believes she was on her way to see her primary care physician about a possible ear infection when the accident happened.
Carlos Gum said his wife had spent nearly 25 years working as a nurse, starting her career in the military. She most recently had worked as a nurse in the University of Virginia Medical Center's endoscopy unit.
"She was aweseome. She was a true nursing angel,'' he said. "She helped people on and off the job. She was there for everybody."
He said his wife was originally from Bridgeport, Conn., but had come to love the Shenandoah Valley and "never wanted to leave." He said Andrea especially loved her flower gardens at the couple's Goose Creek home.
The couple had planned to travel to Lake Moomaw in Bath County this weekend. Carlos Gum said his wife had already packed for the trip.
Carlos Gum said he would like to have more answers from the police investigation, but is not certain he will get them.