Oologah Teacher Not Injured When Train Strikes Her SUV
By Craig Day, The News On 6
OOLOGAH, OK -- Students in the Oologah-Talala School District returned to the classroom Monday morning for the first time since a deadly meningitis outbreak.
They had been out for six days after two students got bacterial meningitis and died the Thursday before spring break.
Going back to school after the outbreak was hard on some Oologah students and teachers. The return was made even more difficult for one teacher when her car got stuck on some railroad tracks as a train was headed right for her.
"When she saw the train coming, she tried to move, well she got stuck there and couldn't go forward or backwards," said Chief Novale Thompson, Oologah Police Department.
Jessica Flegal's car was stuck in the snow, on the tracks, on 390 Road -- just south of the Oologah-Talala School complex on U.S. Highway 169. Other drivers couldn't get the car moving, and the train couldn't stop.
Oologah police say the train was traveling 35 miles per hour at the time of the crash.
"After he hit the car, it went on down the track about 100 yards," said Chief Thompson.
Flegal was able to get out safely before the collision.
"She's alive. We can buy 100 of these cars, but you can't buy a life. I'm really thrilled that she was able to get out of the car, and I'm thrilled my grandson wasn't in the car with her," said Steve Copeland, Flegal's dad.
"It could have been very tragic," said Chief Thompson.
While not tragic, it is heartbreaking. Flegal, a second grade teacher in Oologah, taught the two children killed by meningitis. Then this happens on the first day back to school since the deadly outbreak.
"We've had a hard time getting her prepared to go back to school and then this took place (Monday) morning. So it's pretty rough," said Copeland.
Everyone knew it would be rough, but never dreamed this would happen. They're thankful a community that has been through enough heartache was spared any more.
"We prayed for a good day and it is a good day. She's alive and everything is fine," said Copeland.
Seven students were confirmed with meningitis. One is still in the hospital.