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Elderly couple killed in fiery Kansas train collision went around crossing arms, got stuck on tracks, investigators believe

By Shain Bergan, Abby Dodge

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    MIAMI COUNTY, Kansas (KCTV) — Investigators on Friday said they believe an elderly couple leaving a Thanksgiving gathering Thursday night drove around railroad crossing arms and got stuck on the tracks before getting hit by a train and dying in the fiery collision.

The incident happened around 6 p.m. at the railroad crossing on Ridgeview Road just north of Wagstaff Road in Miami County, KS.

“When emergency personnel arrived on scene, they located the front of the train and the vehicle, a 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix, approximately a half mile down the tracks from the intersection, with the vehicle fully engulfed in flames and the front of the train engine on fire,” according to a statement released by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office said their investigation shows that it appears all railroad equipment was working properly at the time.

The identities of the man and woman inside the vehicle will have to be confirmed through a pathologist, but they are believed to be an elderly couple from Spring Hill, KS, who had recently left a Thanksgiving gathering.

A railway accident investigator told KCTV5 News that authorities in these instances look to make sure signals, crossing arms, bells and train whistles all work correctly during the incidents. A Miami County Sheriff’s captain had said Thursday night that they would be looking at the train’s onboard cameras to determine if all equipment worked as intended.

After reviewing the evidence, the Sheriff’s Office said, “A preliminary investigation has found that the vehicle attempted to drive around the railroad crossing arms and got stuck in the crossing on the tracks. The train struck the vehicle with two occupants in the vehicle, pushing it to its final resting location.”

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