According to today’s news, a 9-year-old girl and her grandparents were killed when an Amtrak train struck their vehicle near Ottawa, Illinois.
The LaSalle County Coroner said that the young girl and her grandparents, from Leland, Illinois, were pronounced dead on the scene of the accident.
Two other children from Indiana, ages 10 and 7, were also injured in the crash.
According to local authorities, initial evidence suggests the southbound car that the five were traveling in did not stop, entered the railroad intersection and was hit by the lead engine of the California-bound Amtrak train.
An Amtrak spokesman said that one on the train was injured, and the accident is under investigation.
As an experienced train crash injury lawyer, this incident does not come as a shock. In Illinois alone, 355 people were killed in 2004 at highway-rail grade crossing collisions. Nationally, a crash between a vehicle and a train occurs approximately every 90 minutes in the United States. Further, you are 30 times more likely to die in a collision with a train than with another vehicle.
According to most state laws, certain vehicles are required to stop at all railroad crossings. There is no indication whether or not the railroad intersection in question was an “open” intersection, of whether it an active highway-rail crossing device or passive warning device at the intersection.
Our railroad crossing accident lawyers help victims, and their families, investigate the potential causes of catastrophic train wrecks, including improperly designated crossings, fatigued railroad employees or poor employee training, or lack of crossing gates, lights, and other warning devices.