A man abandoned his car when it got stuck on railway tracks in Oamaru and then tried but failed to warn the driver of a train that slammed into it, police say.
Police say the goods train ploughed into the vehicle on the tracks at Foyle Street at 4.45am on Saturday.
Officers tracked down the man's address through his car's registration number and found him at home.
They say he told them he had been taking a shortcut home along the train tracks, as he often did, when the vehicle became stuck.
The man said he tried but failed to get the attention of the train driver before the collision.
Police are continuing to talk to the man.