Andy Barron/The Reno Gazette-Journal/ AP
Saturday, April 7, 2018|2 a.m.
RENO– It was at least a football field away when Annika Kerns saw the train.
The Union Pacific train horn blasted as a warning to go back from the tracks as shipping cages barreled toward downtown Reno on March 3.
Then Annika keeps in mind lying in the freshly fallen snow, sensation as if she couldn’t breathe. She could not move her legs.
Almost a month earlier, Annika, 18, was struck by a train as she hiked past a no-trespassing sign with her partner, a pal and her pet Buster.
They hiked up to train tracks in Verdi, just west of the Somersett Ridge Parkway in northwest Reno. They brought a video camera and were taking photos for her canine’s social networks account.
Lots of people seek out railroad tracks for photos, however it’s something Union Pacific alerts is unlawful and lethal.
“Think you’ll hear or see an approaching train? Reconsider. Most of the train’s sound is behind it, so you may not hear it till it’s too late,” Union Pacific states on its site.
And looking for a fantastic picture is exactly what the three teens and Buster were doing that day.
“I wore lipstick,” Annika said. “I never ever use makeup, but we were taking pictures.”
She keeps in mind Buster, a rescue pet dog she named for San Francisco baseball player Buster Posey, being stunned by the train’s horn. The dog darted back towards the tracks as the oncoming train originated from behind.
That’s when Annika raced to save him, not believing or determining what will happen as the train darted forward. The sound of the horn and the train seemed far enough away.
The train struck Annika as it was taking a trip more than 30 mph, colliding with such force that the University of Nevada, Reno student was thrown several feet in the air as she flipped forward.
“I’m paralyzed,” Annika believed.
“Buster is dead,” she stated over and over.
But Buster wasn’t dead. He ‘d run under the train, and it passed over him, leaving him cut and bruised but alive.
“Buster is OKAY,” her buddy, Natalie Krieg, said as she held her friend’s hand. The image of her pal being hit by a train burned in her memory. She too believed Annika may be paralyzed.
Her partner called 911.
“We have to call my mom today,” Annika said as she lay in the snow.
Natalie called. She sat tight close to Annika’s face.
“Mommy, don’t freak out,” Annika said. “I was just hit by a train.”
“Where are you?” Paula Kerns said when her child called. “I just didn’t comprehend. I thought their cars and truck was hit by the train.”
She got her coat and lacked your home.
Annika, the youngest of Paula and Tom Kerns’ 5 kids, was still depending on the snow surrounded by paramedics when Paula Kerns got here.
6 paramedics brought Annika over the tracks and between two stopped train cars.
When they reached the hospital, Annika was surrounded by at least 20 medical professionals and nurses.
Everybody it appeared was looking at her, the small scratch throughout her forehead and her still-attached limbs.
Inning Accordance With Richard Gent, who runs Operation Lifesaver in Nevada, there have been 2 train vs. pedestrian accidents in Washoe County this year. Operation Lifesaver is a not-for-profit public safety company focused on decreasing collisions, casualties and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing near railway tracks.
Gent said individuals have to remember that trains are peaceful and it takes one a mile or more to stop once the brakes are used.
“The bottom line is simply remain off the train tracks and you’ll stay alive,” Gent stated.
The other mishap in January killed 88-year old Richard Shute of Reno.
Inning accordance with the Federal Railway Administration, there are almost 800 deaths at railroad crossings or by individuals trespassing near tracks in the United States each year.
More than 1,300 are seriously injured each year.
The railway did its own investigation and said the train was setting about 29 mph in a 35 miles per hour zone, however would not provide extra details or a copy of the investigation.
“In the area where this incident happened, the train had just rounded a curve, so the train crew saw the people and the dog just a couple of moments before the event happened,” stated Justin Jacobs, director of media relations for Union Pacific Railroad.
Annika’s family say new snow might have conserved her life.
They were told that snow and ice had built up on the plow attached to the front of the train that was coming by Donner Pass with freight from Roseville, California.
Snow had struck the location that weekend closing schools on Friday and remaining through that night. Over Donner Top more than 20 inches of brand-new snow fell March 2 and 3.
“If it wasn’t for that snow, she may have been sliced in half,” Tom Kerns said.
“You could see the way the entire room sort of relaxed after they looked at her,” Tom Kerns stated of the emergency clinic at Renown Regional Medical Center.
“She didn’t appear like somebody who had actually been hit by a train.”
But she was seriously injured.
Annika’s stomach muscle had actually separated from the bone. She fractured her spine, had 2 punctured lungs.
Her pelvis, shattered into seven pieces, was assembled using pins and a metal plate by Reno trauma cosmetic surgeon Peter Althausen.
Althausen stated 60 percent of individuals who have a shattered hips struck a significant artery.
“Individuals actually bleed to death from this type of injury,” he stated.
He stated Annika’s case is a wonder.
Althausen said he sees about 10 cases a year of people seriously injured by trains. The injuries range from people with serious head and heart traumas to cases of kids climbing under a train and losing a limb.
“Anything you can consider, like you see in the movies, is what we see in traumas including trains.
“Most of the case are homeless, or people who have an alcohol problem or a suicide, or a gang circumstance where somebody is pushed, but here you have this young girl who is aiming to conserve her pet.”
While Annika is home from the health center and expected to make a full healing, the last month hasn’t been simple.
She had to leave of UNR.
In the days after the accident, Annika would jolt awake in fear. She has anxiety and still weeps over exactly what has actually taken place. Her moms and dads cry with her.
Once a star volley ball player at McQueen High School, Annika still can’t walk and depends on her moms and dads. She might be months far from walking on her own.
The household established a hospital bed in their living-room. Her mother sleeps on the couch.
However they are so appreciative.
“She is going to make a complete healing,” Paula Kerns stated.
Annika stated she wishes to speak with kids or anyone who will listen about the dangers of going near train tracks.
“I’ll go to every school in Washoe County if they desire me to,” she said. She wants to one day apologize personally to the train team driving that day.
She won’t ever return to the spot where she was hit.
“It’s too uncomfortable to think of,” she stated.
She concentrates on the future.
“It’s tough to even state, ‘I was hit by a train.'”
She stated just recently she had to have an allergic reaction shot and she called the office to ask if the nurse might come out to the vehicle to give her the shot, as it was too uncomfortable to get out of the automobile.
“I didn’t wish to state, ‘I was hit by a train,'” she said. “Who states that?”
She has actually set an objective to see the San Francisco Giants when they play the Dodgers on April 28.
“It may be aggressive, but I’m going,” she said.
She updated Buster’s Instagram account with a new photo days after the accident.
It wasn’t a photo from the train tracks day, but from the health center when Buster was permitted a short check out.
She composed it from Buster’s point of view.
“Hi friends, I simply want to let everyone know that my mommy and I remained in a bad mishap on Saturday. We were out exploring and taking photos when a train came by and I got extremely terrified and went out in front of it and my mama tried to go out and save me and was hit. We’re both all right now. I laid under the train on the tracks as it passed over me and came out after it stopped, I only had a cut on my head and my back leg was extremely bruised. My mama’s pelvis was fractured into 7 pieces, both of her lungs were pierced and her abdominal area muscle was ripped off of the bone. We’re both doing alright but my mother is still in the medical facility.”
She stated guardian angels supervised her that day. Both her grandpas were fire battalion chiefs for the city of Reno.
“I simply feel like they were there with me that day,” she stated. “There’s no other description for why I’m going to stroll, one day, far from this.”