An 81-year-old Brownwood man escaped injury Wednesday morning when the pickup he was driving was struck by a train under the Truman Harlow Overpass in Brownwood.
    Utah Baldwin, the driver and only occupant of the Chevrolet pickup, said he never saw a crossing gate down when he made a right turn off of Coleman onto the U.S. Highway 377 frontage road and drove onto the tracks. The train, which was traveling at 24 mph, struck the pickup’s passenger side.
    At the accident site, the crossing gate was in the down position and had sustained damage on its end.
    Steve Smith, a retired Blanket man who saw the crash from his vehicle, said he saw Baldwin’s pickup drive around the crossing gate and enter the tracks in front of the train.
    “The train was blaring its horn,” Smith said. “The train was right there. It just started rolling him and spun him around, and the train hit the back of it too.
    “The Lord was with him. When I saw what was fixing to happen, I prayed Jesus over him.”
    Smith saiid he called 9-1-1, and City Marshal Dean Kilburn rolled up moments later as another driver also stopped.
    Assistant Police Chief James Fuller said Baldwin told an officer at the scene that he did not see the crossing gate, and told another officer that he drove around it. “This serves as a serious reminder that you cannot ignore the railroad crossing signs,” Fuller said via text message.
    Several family members arrived at the accident site, and Smith prayed with Baldwin.
    Baldwin said he is thankful God protected him from injury. “It could’ve been much worse,” Baldwin said. “The first thing I saw was that engine on that train. It happened so quick.”
    Baldwin said he had left home and was headed for an Allsup’s store to get gas when the accident happened.