msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/6/2010 10:32:30 AM ET 2010-12-06T15:32:30

An injured Ohio teen doesn't remember getting hit by a train while walking along the tracks on her way to school.

Sixteen-year-old Isatu Kanu said she missed her bus on Friday and decided that following the tracks would be the fastest way to get Olentangy Orange High School north of Columbus.

She told The Columbus Dispatch on Sunday that she heard the Norfolk Southern train behind her but thought it was moving slowly and thought she would be safe.

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Isatu got clipped by the train and wound up with a concussion, a neck fracture and 38 leg stitches. She blacked out at the moment of impact and remembers waking up with the engineer standing over her.

According to local reports, Isatu was wearing headphones as she walked along the train tracks, but said she only had one ear on when the northbound train came up behind her.

"I heard something, so I took out one of my headphones," local television station 10TV News quoted her as saying. "I looked back and I saw the train."

"It looked like it was going slower than usual," she said. She told The Dispatch she thought she would be safe because a southbound train had passed her earlier and did not hit her.

"I just kept on walking," she said. "I didn't know I was too close to the side (of the tracks). After that, I don't remember what happened."

By the time medics arrived, Isatu was conscious and alert. She was taken to The Ohio State University Medical Center by helicopter, 10TV reported.

'God did it good'
Her mother, Mamasu Kanu, 32, could hardly believe her daughter hadn't been killed. "A train doesn't hit somebody and they survive," she said. "The police said, 'Believe you me, she's alive.'"

The principle of the Olentangy Orange High School, Todd Mayer, sent an email to parents following the incident.

"While we are certainly happy that Isatu is fine, we continue to stress that students should not walk near any train tracks," the email said. "Students should find alternative transportation options that provide better safety measures."

Doctors expect Isatu to make a full recovery.

10TV News reported that she was due to be released from the hospital Monday. A spokeswoman for the hospital told msnbc.com Monday that she was still a patient and was in fair condition.

"She's alive. That's the best I could ask for. God did it good," her mother said.

The Dispatch reported that the Kanu family had moved to the United States from Sierra Leone in western Africa 10 years ago. The family includes Isatu's father, Aleu Kanu, and her brother.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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