CRESTVIEW - A Walton County man faces multiple charges after State Troopers say he tried to beat a train across the tracks, causing a wreck that seriously injured a 16-year-old boy.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Uriel Paredes-Rodriguez, 25, of Freeport, was traveling north on South Rosebud Ave about 9:00 a.m. Saturday when he tried to beat a train across the tracks at US 90 in Crestview.
The CSX train collided with the passenger side of Paredes-Rodriguez’s 2003 Chevy Avalanche. The pickup truck, which was hauling a trailer, overturned, ejecting Manuel Rodrigeuz, 16, of Santa Rosa Beach. He was not wearing a seatbelt. They were both taken to North Okaloosa Medical Center, along with a second passenger. Manuel Rodrigeuz is listed in serious condition.
Paredes-Rodriguez was charged with violation of railroad crossing and operating a motor vehicle with a passenger under 18 not wearing a seatbelt.
In an e-mail to NewsChanel 7, Paredes-Rodriguez says he was not trying to beat the train. He says the rain and fog made it tough to see and that he never heard the train.
There are no crossing arms or flashing lights at the crossing. Paredes-Rodriguez thinks there should be.
“We need more safety,” said Paredes-Rodriguez. “Many accidents like this happen because (there is ) not enough safety on railroads.”
Paredes-Rodriguez also told us he knows he’s lucky that he was not killed in the collision with a train.
“I thank God for a second chance to enjoy my life with my loved ones.”