The victim, identified by Bartow County Coroner Joel Guyton as 77-year-old Edward Ellis Brumfield Jr., was the only occupant of the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Bartow County Fire Department personnel assisted Georgia State Patrol troopers and Bartow County Sheriff's Office deputies at the scene.
Witnesses who live next to the tracks said this is the second accident they have seen over the years, noting the previous incident did not result in a fatality.
"We heard a 'ding,'" said Glenda Stewart, whose driveway is near the guardrails beside the tracks. "My daughter called 911 and ran out there to help.
"It looked like he tried to go around the rails and beat the train. People do that all the time, and I think the railroad should make the rails go all the way across."
Talking through the tears while remembering the deadly scene, Stewart's daughter said all she could see was blood and smoke.
Georgia State Patrol Public Information Officer Gordy Wright confirmed the witness's recollection that Brumfield was struck in the driver's side of his Ford Taurus by the train as he went around the stop arm across the tracks.
CSX representatives were on site to investigate the accident and could not release an official statement at the time.
"The best analogy I can give for a train hitting a car would be like your car rolling over a Coke can," CSX representative Bob Casey said. "It just gets crushed."
According to their website, Brumfield was serving as the president for the Cartersville Lions Club for 2011-2012. Brumfield also served in the American Legion for many years.
"He's done so much for us over the years," American Legion Chairman of the Board Ken Temples said. "He's been with us for many, many years."
Temples recalled that Brumfield had served as the Legion's post commander and twice as the district commander. He also said that Brumfield served on the board of directors and held a position in "just about any office." He also was active in the Cartersville Lion's Club and the Retired Men's Club.