‘I am a grateful woman today. I’m so thankful to be alive.’: train wreck survivor speaks about crash

Published: Oct. 1, 2023 at 11:35 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2023 at 12:34 PM CDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - “I am a grateful woman today. I’m so thankful to be alive. Because everybody said you don’t walk away from a train. You just don’t you don’t.”

Gwendolyn Enzlow and her 8-year-old daughter, Mailee, tell News Leader 9 they cross the railway at Lee Road 633 every time they come and go from Pleasant View Missionary Baptist Church in Salem. They say they were leaving a revival Wednesday night when a Norfolk Southern Train hit them just three stop signs away from the church.

We spoke with her Friday as she was released from Piedmont Hospital in Columbus where she was airlifted the night of the accident.

“It’s a miracle that I’m still here,” said Enzlow

Enzlow has a broken arm, a crack in her pelvis, and a few stitches on the side of her face.

“You just get better so you can come home to mommy. Okay. Okay, Mommy loves you” said Enzlow.

Mailee, her daughter, is in Birmingham recovering in the ICU. We’re told her skull is fractured and she’s experienced seizures from bleeding in her brain.

The first to come to the mother and daughter’s rescue was the pastor of Pleasant View Missionary Baptist Nelson Fears and his wife. We spoke over the phone on his way to visit Milee Birmingham.

“I knew I had to get them out of the car.” said Fears.

Fears said he always calls Enzlow when she leaves church since she travels from Montgomery.

“Her daughter answered the phone and I said let me speak to your mom and when I said let me speak to your mom, she screamed as though she couldn’t do that.” said Fears.” I could hear that train in the phone just like I could hear it from where I was standing. It was horrifying to get there and see what I saw.”

Fears said he saw Enzlow’s car in a ditch on the left side of the railway.

“I went to the car and pulled the door handle but it wouldn’t open.” said Fears

That’s when he said he broke the car window to pull Mailee out and handed her over to his wife.

“When got back I noticed that what I thought I heard when I was bringing the baby out I did hear that she was alive. I started to get her seatbelt loose, and I could not, so I remembered I had a knife in my pocket.”

Fears used the knife to cut Enzlow out of her seatbelt.

“We’ll take this time just to relax and reflect on how good god is,” said Enzlow.

We’re told Mailee is still in the intensive care unit recovering but is alert. Troopers with the Alabama law enforcement agency’s highway patrol division are investigating this crash.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were more than two thousand train versus car crashes last year alone.