Woman critically injured in DWI railroad crash

August 20, 2010 3:23:30 PM PDT
Authorities say a New Jersey man was drunk when he drove on railroad tracks and left his passenger before a freight train hit the vehicle.

"Doesn't make any sense to me, insane," said Colin Lorimer, the victim's father.

Colin and Susan Lorimer are worried sick about their daughter, 18-year-old LaToya, who is now in intensive care.

Thursday morning around 3:30, she was getting a ride home from a restaurant co-worker, when she was thrown from the passenger's seat.

The car was hit by a freight train, but the driver wasn't crossing the tracks, he'd been driving between them.

"A crime was committed. You don't driver on the railroad tracks and then leave somebody in the car," Lorimer said.

Police say not only had Hector Espinel-Mendez been drinking and driving, he left his 18-year-old passenger in the car, as he ran from the scene.

"It's inhumane, attempted murder. Why she was in that car makes no sense to me," Lorimer said.

The driver was going along the gravel between the train tracks.

He had been driving that way for a mile and a half when the train came and hit them.

LaToya is currently in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Her parents say she was supposed to start college on scholarship at Drexel University in a few weeks.

"She loves sports, smart, intelligent, with a bright future ahead of her," Lorimer said.

But now, her father says it's hard to see her in that condition, hooked up to machines and not responding.

Hector Espinel-Mendez is charged with aggravated assault, reckless driving, drunken driving and driving drunk as an underage person.