John M. McGeown, Jr., saved Susan K. and Cynthia C. Emmons and Ann F. MacGregor from being struck by a train, North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, July 9, 1967. Susan, 10, was in the front seat of a coupe driven by her mother when the vehicle, with Cynthia, 8, and Ann, 9, in the rear seat, stalled at a single-track railroad crossing. As the mother tried without success to start the coupe, the traffic gate lowered onto the top of the automobile, indicating that a train was approaching although it then could not be seen from the crossing. John, 15, schoolboy, ran 25 feet to the driver’s side of the coupe and tried in vain to lift the lowered gate. The coupe drifted forward and stopped with the front wheels between the rails. As the train horn sounded repeatedly, John ran to the other side of the coupe and opened the door. He lifted Susan onto the pavement, and she ran away from the automobile. John put his head inside the coupe, lowered the front backrest, and knelt on the door sill. He reached into the rear seat section and pulled Cynthia from the automobile. She also ran to safety. The lead engine of a freight train then came into sight 300 feet from the crossing, traveling at about 30 m.p.h. The engineer applied emergency braking. Despite the nearness of the train, John again knelt on the door sill and reached into the rear seat section. He grasped Ann, who pulled away. Obtaining a firm hold on her, John forcibly removed her. They ran from the automobile as the train approached at diminishing speed to within 25 feet of it. The mother opened the left door and had lunged to six feet from the automobile when the lead engine struck the vehicle. By then John had run to the mother; and together they ran to safety as the coupe was dragged 25 feet along the track. The lead engine stopped 125 feet beyond the crossing. All escaped injury.
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