One year after accident, Chapin train crash survivors continue to share special bond

One year after accident, Chapin train crash survivors continue to share special bond
It's been one year since Aleigh Tisdale, Gracen Derrick, and Sophia Zarzuela were involved in a crash at a railroad crossing on Walter McCartha Road. (Source: WIS/Scott Krause Aerials)

CHAPIN, S.C. (WIS) - One year has passed since three girls from Chapin were involved in a scary accident, while trying to cross the train tracks on Walter McCartha Road.

It’s an event that Aleigh Tisdale, Gracen Derrick, and Sophia Zarzuela have trouble remembering completely, but it’s also a day they will never forget.

“It’s not something I’m going to forget about overnight, but I’m just happy to be here,” said Gracen.

Even a year later, some wounds still remain.

“I just had another surgery. So, that will make three total surgeries,” said Sophia.

“My back is the one thing I have the most problems with. I still go to strength training twice a week,” added Gracen.

What also remains is a powerful bond that unites the girls, like the three-ring necklace they each wear every day and rarely take off.

“We haven’t stopped wearing these necklaces since we got them,” said Aleigh.

It’s a special kind of bond they say will never go away No matter how much time passes, and it all stems from an event that had many in the Chapin community fearing the worst.

“They might not all three know it but, yeah, they mean the world to me,” said Gracen’s dad, Jason Derrick.

Gracen’s dad was the first on the scene that day, helping to pull the girls from the wreckage. He says a lot can change in a year, but one thing that has not is the danger when crossing the tracks on Walter McCartha Road.

“The same large pothole is still right there. The same bushes that hinder the view along the edge, it’s all still right there,” said Jason.

Until changes are made, Sophia, Gracen, and Aleigh will continue to think twice before crossing the tracks on Walter McCartha.

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