Train Crossing Collision Kills Elderly Couple

Train Crossing Collision Kills Elderly Couple
By: Carly O'Keefe

Johnson County, IL - Investigators say an elderly couple killed in a car-train collision Wednesday had many warnings but may not have seen them.

State police have identified the driver and passenger as 83-year-old Glenn Tripp of Cobden and 76-year-old Mabel Moss of Marion.

There are no crossing gates at the Eagle Point Bay Road railroad crossing. There are warnings in the form of flashing lights and a train horn, but investigators say the elderly couple just didn't stop.

"The engineer saw the vehicle wasn't stopping and was on the horn. The vehicle wouldn't stop and he saw the vehicle just slowly come out across the tracks, and the train struck the car on the driver's side," said Illinois State Police Trooper Dale Poole.

While police say the train was not traveling at a high rate of speed, the impact killed both driver and passenger.

"I think this is just a tragic event for whatever reason that we may never know why, but the driver just didn't see the lights and didn't hear the horn," said Poole.

Bruce Bennett lives nearby and crosses the tracks twice a day. He says when northbound trains, like the Union Pacific that struck the elderly couple Wednesday, approach the crossing wooded embankments on either side of the tracks somewhat obscure oncoming trains.

"If you're traveling this way (east), by the time you can see down there (south), you're too close to the tracks to stop, so it could be a hazardous situation," Bennett said.

He says while crossing gates would be ideal at the crossing, Bennett thinks drivers are best advised to be alert and take it slow.

"Trains usually sound their whistle a lot through here, you can hear it all night long, so it's not that trains aren't warning people that they're coming," Bennett said.