• Teen killed, another injured after train collides with van in Hall County

    By: Tony Thomas


    HALL COUNTY, Ga. - One teenager was killed and another was seriously injured when a train collided with a van hung up at a railroad crossing in Flowery Branch on Wednesday morning, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

    Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the van trying to get across the tracks at the Lights Ferry Road and Atlanta Highway crossing as the arms were coming down. 

    Video shows the driver, identified as Jose Gomez, exiting the van just before the collision around 7 a.m. He was not injured.

    Following the crash, two teen passengers in the van were taken to a hospital with serious injuries, according to Flowery Branch police spokesman Officer Matthew Mahathey. 

    One of the passengers, 16-year-old Kevin Perez, later died. Alex Gonzalez Perez, 17, was identified as the other passenger who was injured.


    "I always cross through there, and usually when the gates do come down, people take some chances," neighbor Braulio Mata said.

    "When they come through here, they don't pay attention sometimes to the crossing," neighbor Genaro Mata said.

    About four hours after the crash, another train went through the intersection as crews worked to repair the signals. 

    Authorities said Gomez told them he could not go anywhere because of the cars around him and he thought he was stuck on the crossing arm. Witnesses said they thought he had room to drive off.

    Investigators are hoping the 17-year-old survivor can provide some answers.

    Gomez is charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and improper stopping on a roadway.

    Chelsea Prince, with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, contributed to this article.

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