RIVERSIDE, Ill. (STMW) — A woman and a Shih Tzu named Tuxedo narrowly escaped serious injury after an oncoming train in west suburban Riverside struck the woman’s vehicle on Thursday.

The woman’s car got caught between traffic and railroad crossing gates, but managed to escape serious injury when other drivers made room for her to back out of the path of an oncoming train, according to release from Riverside police.

“If it had been maybe another 10 to 12 feet forward, it would have hit the driver’s side of her vehicle and we would be investigating a fatality,” Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said of the Thursday crash at Harlem Avenue.

Cathy J. Griesmeyer, 67, of Crete, was driving a Volvo station wagon southbound on Harlem Avenue when she became caught in traffic on the tracks, according to the release.

As the Amtrak train approached, she was unable to go forward out of its path, Weitzel said. But drivers behind her saw the car’s back-up lights, and made room for her to reverse.

“She backed up a little bit which is what saved her life,” Weitzel said.

The outbound train, which was not scheduled to stop at the station, clipped the front of the car, spinning it around, he said.

The woman was conscious and alert, and speaking coherently with paramedics who took her to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Weitzel said. Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Griesmeyer, of the 1400 block of Elizabeth Street in Crete, was cited for unlawful stopping at a grate crossing, according to the release.

A dog in the vehicle—a 4-year-old Shih Tzu named Tuxedo–was taken to the Berwyn Veterinary Hospital, according to the release. Tuxedo sustained “very minor injuries” and is in good health.

The train was traveling at 71 mph at the time of the crash and took 1,338 feet to stop, according to the release. None of the 113 passengers or 11 crew members were hurt.

The Amtrak route operates daily between Chicago and San Francisco, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

The crash temporarily halted Metra BNSF trains between Chicago and Aurora, which also share the same tracks.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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