The driver whose car was struck by a train last Friday could face a year in jail for the crash, Portland police said.

Derso Mekonen, 56, of Portland, was issued summonses on two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and failure to obey a railroad safety device, Portland police said Tuesday.

Each of the endangering charges carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail andor a $1,000 fine. The failure to obey a railroad safety device is a traffic infraction.

Police spokesman Lt. Robert Martin said footage from the train and from a nearby convenience store shows Mekonen traveling at a high rate of speed along Brighton Avenue toward Portland.

Martin said cars were waiting in front of the safety barrier when Mekonen went around the traffic on the left and slammed on his brakes. His 2008 Nissan Sentra struck the safety barrier, which bounced upward. The car came to a stop with its front bumper exposed to the oncoming train, which struck the car about one second after it came to a stop.

Mekonen was taken to Maine Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries after the crash. The two children in the car, ages 5 and 9, were not injured, and were released to their mother after being checked out by paramedics at the scene. The children were not related to Mekonen and no one on the train was injured, police said.

“I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish by doing it,” Martin said.


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