Owner of big rig hit by train in Cibolo: ‘I saw headlights coming so we got out’

Sheila, Jim Schofield made safe escape at railroad crossing at FM 78 and Country Road

SAN ANTONIO – The owners of a big rig that was hit by a freight train in Cibolo early Wednesday morning say they barely had time to react.

Sheila Schofield was behind the wheel at the time while her husband, Jim, was taking a nap in the back of the truck’s cab section.

She said she was trying to use the railroad crossing at FM 78 and Country Road, but her rig didn’t make it.

“There were no lights so I couldn’t see the incline of the tracks. And we have a low (profile) trailer, so when I went over it, we got hung up,” she said.

The couple from Oklahoma were hauling a truck to a local quarry at the time.

The heavy load made their already-low-profile trailer sink even closer to the ground.

As she tried to drive across the tracks, it hit bottom and wouldn’t budge.

A railroad crossing arm at Country Road and FM 78 was left mangled by the crash. (KSAT 12 News)

Before she knew it, Schofield said a train was baring down on them.

“I hollered for (Jim). He was asleep,” she said. “I said, ‘There are headlights coming,’ so we got out.”

Jim, meanwhile, shot up in bed, wondering if he was having a nightmare.

“I woke up in a panic,” he said. “We just watched it happen, you know? Got to a safe spot, that’s for sure.”

The couple escaped injury, but their big rig, the truck they were hauling, and the train, itself, all sustained major damage.

The front of the train sustained damage after colliding with the big rig. (KSAT 12 News)

Because their tractor trailer was their only transportation, the Schofields had to quickly come up with a plan to get back home to Oklahoma.

“We’re going to rent a U-Haul and gather our stuff and take it home,” Sheila said.

While Jim was later able to chuckle about the up-close encounter with the train, both he and his wife were shaken by it. They also were grateful they survived.

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About the Authors:

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.