A Youngstown woman is in the hospital recovering after her car was hit by a train near Salem early Friday morning.

"I'm in a lot of pain, I'm blessed, I'm thankful to be here considering getting hit by a train," described Latrese Dawson.

Latrese Dawson feels lucky to be alive.

"It's a big miracle from my understanding they say half of the car is gone— the back end of it."

The 41-year-old mother and grandmother was on her way to work at Fresh Mark early Friday morning when her car was hit by a train.

"I pulled up to the stop sign. I seen a white car go in front of me and then I heard the train, so they made it across before the thing even came down, the gate. So I'm like OK I'm going to stop right here so I can fix my hair and just have five minutes and then the next thing I know I'm trying to start the car and a gentleman's looking at me like ma'am ma'am and I'm like yes, I was like my car won't start what's going on. He was like ma'am you were hit by a train."

Perry Township Police tell 21 News that she stopped her car when the gate went down along a railroad crossing on Route 45 near the Fresh Mark plant just after 6 a.m.

Police say she entered the tracks, the gates went down and she stopped.

Dawson said that she doesn't know how she ended up there.

"I still can't see how I got to that area because I know I stopped."

Police Chief Mike Emigh says the train struck the car, tearing it apart.

Dawson has an injured shoulder and fractures in her spine and she may need surgery.

"They were saying I may have to have surgery to put cement into the L5s but if not it's going to be a long painful road so all I can do is thank God for that, I can't complain, and push forward until I can recover from this."

Dawson is thankful for her big support system —her family — who are helping her recover.