SUNNYVALE (KRON) — A San Jose man is being hailed as a hero on Friday after pulling a woman from a car that had turned onto the Caltrain tracks in Sunnyvale.
The man pulled the driver out seconds before the train hit the car.
Speeding trains rocketing across south Sunnyvale Avenue are a common occurrence, but what happened Thursday evening around 6 p.m. was not.
“I stopped and saw a Prius about 50 feet down the track,” Walter Wilson said.
Wilson was driving east across the railroad tracks when he noticed a car had turned right onto the tracks and had stopped. The 63-year-old Wilson stopped his car, ran down the tracks, and told the elderly woman behind the wheel to back up.
She tried but got stuck.
“I looked up and saw lights from a train coming directly at us,” Wilson said.
Wilson says he reached into the vehicle and took off the woman’s seatbelt and lifted her out of the car and took her to safety.
“Between the time I grabbed her and the time we got to safety, I couldn’t tell you how I got there,” Wilson said. “I just looked up, and we were there, probably because of the adrenaline, and we were there maybe 5-6 seconds before the train hit her car.”
Though Wilson says the train did slow down, this is what the woman’s car looked like after it was hit by the train.
“It sounded like an explosion; the train hit it and kind of crumpled it,” Wilson said.
Thanks to Wilson’s fast action, the driver of the car was not hurt, nor was anyone on the train.
Wilson says he was later approached by the train’s engineer.
“He came over and said he was so appreciative I got the woman out of the car because you made my day,” Wilson said.
Wilson says the woman spoke little English, but he sensed she was grateful.
Now, some are calling this great-grandfather a hero, but Wilson says that should be reserved for those who put their lives on the line every day.
“My act may be perceived as heroic, but at the end of the day, I did what a humane person would do and that is to save someone else’s family,” Wilson said. “If it were my mother or my sister or a loved one, I would hope another American or human would reach out to help that person as well.”
While Caltrain is calling Wilson’s actions heroic, the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety is going one step further.
They plan to honor him.
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