POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A Heartland woman is thankful to be alive after a train crashed into the pick-up truck she was in this past weekend.
Tricia Ellis said she remembers driving down a county road and then looking right to see a train coming right at her. It's that moment that she will never forget.
"I hear I look pretty damn good after getting hit by a train," Ellis said.
Her sense of humor is still intact after a moment she didn't even see coming.
"I looked to my right and bam there's a train," Ellis said. "That's all it was. We didn't have a second to react."
"They said your daughter has been in a wreck, car vs. train," Alene Porter, Ellis's mother, said. "She's in critical condition. I need you to get up here immediately."
When Porter arrived at the hospital, she saw the same 24-year-old woman she was used to.
"She was in the ER joking around with her brother," Porter said. "I mean just like she did when they were kids and she just got hit by a train."
After multiple surgeries, Ellis said simply put, she is thankful.
"There's no luck," Ellis said. "I was never a bible thumper or a believer but something a lot more powerful than us was with us."
"You've seen the truck, there's no way she should have survived," Porter said.
Ellis wasn't the only one in this truck. Her boyfriend was driving and is still recovering.
"It took me a couple of days to find out if he was even still alive but he is and still is," Ellis said.
According to MODOT, there are about 3,000 private roadway rail crossings in the state. A little half on than half of those are equipped with active warnings devices.
The railroad crossing where the crash took place is not one of those. The only signs up are the ones that indicate a railroad crossing.
"There needs to be more warnings," Ellis said. "Especially in the middle of the country, because those are where you least expect it by all means."
MODOT estimates the average cost of rail crossing safety project is about $200,000 and said approximately 30 to 40 projects are done each year.
Ellis said she is scheduled for face surgery on Thursday. Her boyfriend is still in a coma in a Memphis hospital.