Jun 28, 2013 10:50 PM by Erin Steuber
We're learning more about what happened moments before a woman was killed in a train crash in St. Martin Parish. Troopers say 51-year-old Cassandra Andrews' van was stuck between two cars when the crossing arms came down, in front and behind her. Her van then caught fire when an Amtrak train hit the back of it.
State Police say warning devices, lights, bells and gates were operating properly.
Andrews' family says the hardest part is knowing how she died.
"She was better than a gold mine. I would have traded gold in to keep that," said her boyfriend James Woodard. "If everything I owned would save her, you could take it just so she could sit here."
Wednesday started like any other, Cassandra Andrews went to work, and so did her boyfriend James Woodard. Around 12:30 that afternoon, Andrews called to let him know she was on her way to get him.
"She said I'm coming to get you and I'll be there in a few. A few to her is 10-15 minutes at the most. That's a few. Well at 20 minutes to one she hadn't showed up and I called her and the phone was dead," said Woodard.
Andrews was killed moments later when the Amtrak train hit her van. Her neighbor just happened to be in the area and was one of several people who tried saving her.
"He couldn't get her from underneath the strap so he went to his car to get a knife," said Woodard. "It blew up and he stood there and watched her cry and holler for help and he couldn't touch her."
Andrews was a home health nurse and a mother of three.
"I'm never forgetting. I put this on my neck because these are the rings that she wore. I will keep this on my neck forever because this is all I have left of her," said Woodard.
The family has set up an account at Midsouth Bank to help cover her funeral arrangements. If you're interested you can go to any Midsouth Bank branch and tell them you would like to donate to the account benefiting Cassandra Andrews.