(Sparta, Illinois – March 26, 2015)
The lack of crossing gates as part of a total protective package may have led to serious injuries for a 22-year-old Perryville, IL mom and her two-year-old daughter Thursday morning at about 10:10 A.M., CDT, when the PT Cruiser the two were in was struck and dragged 200 yards down Canadian National railroad tracks after a collision between the two vehicles at the crossing of CNR tracks and the Chester Street in Sparta, IL.
Kelly Rubel was driving the vehicle with her unidentified toddler, and both were taken to Sparta Community Hospital, but the serious nature of their injuries required both to be airlifted, the daughter to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO, and the mother to St. Louis University Hospital’s trauma center.
According to Sparta Police Chief Sean Lukes, the crossing is “marked with lights but not gates,” and the accident is still under investigation. Lukes told Pete Spitler of the Randolph County Herald-Tribune “that’s the first time we’ve had anything like that happen at that railroad crossing.”
CN Public Affairs Manager Patrick Waldron told Spitler that the train consisted of two locomotives pulling six freight cars. “It’s what we call a ‘local’ train,” Waldron added.
The Sparta Fire Dept. and Randolph County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the accident, and the Illinois State Police plan on performing an accident reconstruction.