About 2 a.m., Robert Ellis Berry Jr., of Thomson, was driving south through town on Georgia Highway 17. He tried to turn right onto West Hendricks Street but missed the turn by 50 to 60 feet and ended up driving on the tracks, said Georgia State Patrol Trooper Mark Cabe.
After traveling about 100 feet on the tracks, the car became stuck. A Thomson Police Department officer spotted it and convinced Berry to leave the car because a train was coming.
“He thought he was on the road,” Cabe said.
Not more than 30 seconds later, a 17-car freight train hit the 2006 Nissan Altima head-on, totaling the vehicle, Cabe said. The train was delayed for more than an hour.
Berry was charged with driving under the influence, driving with an expired tag, reckless driving and criminal trespassing. He was being held in the McDuffie County jail.