Local mom speaks out after train car flips over, injures family including autistic son

YOUNGSVILLE (WTVD) -- A local mother is speaking out after her children were hurt when a train car flipped over at a popular children's farm.

The incident happened Saturday at Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville.

Cindy Martin said her family was attending a birthday party at the farm when the train suddenly tipped over.

"I knew it was going over and there was nothing I could do," said Martin. "I could just hear screams."

Martin said her 3-year-old autistic son almost flew out of the car and is traumatized.

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But her son wasn't the only one injured. Martin said she and her husband went to great lengths to save their daughter.

"My husband yelled at me that my daughter was pinned under the train, and I saw her shoe laying on the ground and it just sent chills down me," said Martin. "We lifted the train up and it didn't feel heavy at the time. My back disagrees now, but we lifted it out and we got her out."

Martin's mother, 67-year-old Gracie Napier, was also injured and had to receive five staples in her head.

But what's upsetting Martin the most is that she feels the farm isn't taking the incident seriously, saying she's upset at an online statement the company made that states only "minor injuries" were reported.

The farm has issued the following statement:

July 8th just before noon, we experienced an incident with our train. Soon after leaving the depot one of the passenger cars became unbalanced and the conductor immediately brought the train to a stop within seconds. The passenger car tipped on its side after the train was stopped. Emergency personnel were called to offer medical care to all involved. Our train is inspected daily by our management team and additional staff that operate the train. It is also inspected on a routine basis by the Dept. Of Labor. We contacted the Dept. of Labor after the incident and they were on site within the hour to investigate the situation. They have reported back to us that there was no driver error and that the train was in good condition. The passenger cart that tipped over did not receive any physical damage during the incident. We are waiting for the DOL final report and re-inspection before operating the train. Our main concern is with our guests that were involved and we are very thankful that there were only minor injuries to report. We are deeply saddened that this happened. We love and care for all of our guests just as if they were our own family and we pride ourselves on making every effort to keep everyone who visits with us safe.

A Hill Ridge manager tells ABC11 that they have stopped running the kid train and a North Carolina Department of Labor representative will be visiting the farm Tuesday.
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