SUV, train crash kills 3 in Illinois

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

MARISSA, Ill. -- A coal train crashed into a sport utility vehicle crossing the tracks Monday, killing three people and injuring a fourth, officials said.

The crash occurred around 7:45 a.m. at the main railroad crossing in Marissa, about 40 miles southeast of St. Louis, Canadian National Railway Co. spokesman Jim Kvedaras said.

"According to the conductor, the driver made no attempt to stop and drove into the path of the train," said Marissa Police Chief Michael Kerperien.

Tina Porter, her daughter Allaysa Porter, 13; and family friend Donna Jean Calvert, 13, all of Marissa, were pronounced dead at the scene, the St. Clair County coroner told the Belleville News-Democrat.

The injured girl was taken to a hospital in St. Louis, he said. A hospital spokesman would not release details, citing the child's age and privacy laws.

The car was en route to Marissa Junior/Senior High School, Kerperien said.

Neighbors said that they had complained to state regulators about the crossing, and that gates were scheduled to be installed there in 2008.

"We had problems with the train there before," said Mike Parker, a nearby resident. "The train goes by at 70 mph on occasion."

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