PERRIS – Several patrons near the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris were injured Sunday, Nov. 4, as they tried to avoid an erratic driver who was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to a Riverside sheriff’s spokesman.
The sheriff’s department received a call about 4:30 p.m. concerning a driver in a SUV that was driving erratically near the intersection of A Street and Alpine Drive, said Riverside sheriff’s Deputy Michael Vasquez.
Deputies responded to the location and located the SUV nearby, Vasquez said. The unidentified motorist was then arrested.
“Several people were injured trying to get out of the way of the SUV” Vasquez said. “But the driver was not deliberately trying to hit anyone.”
The museum was hosting the popular Day Out with Thomas featuring locomotives that look like Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy from the popular children’s books and movies.
Witness said that parents tossed their children over a fence because they feared they would be struck by the SUV, which was initially driven perpendicular to a train, then veered 90 degrees and moved parallel to it.
The witnesses said the man then drove onto the railroad tracks, then onto a walkway and through a gate before police arrested him. His name was not released.
The two injured people reportedly were not hit by the SUV. The nature and extent of their injuries was not immediately reported.
The Orange Empire Railway Museum is a 90-acre museum boasting the west’s largest collection of railway locomotives, passenger and freight cars, streetcars and electric red line cars, according to the museum’s website.