(LaPorte, Indiana – September 9, 2016)
A 43-year-old Scipio Township, IN mother and her 10-year-old son both escaped their red 2009 Ford F-150 pickup truck, which had become stuck on the double-gated Norfolk Southern railroad crossing of Tyler Street in LaPorte, IN Friday morning at about 7:40 A.M. Tragically, the NS freight train collided with her pickup and sent it careening in her directions, killed her and injuring her son.
Tricia White died, police said, after she “apparently entered the crossing as the crossing arms were coming down. She apparently panicked when the double arms at the crossing came down behind her.”
The South Bend Tribune quoted LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan as explaining that facing the westbound train, White and her 10-year-old son jumped out of the Ford F-150, but when the train, which was traveling 51 miles per hour, hit it, the truck rolled over the woman. “She was outside her vehicle, we believe, when she died,” said Sullivan.
The truck was knocked about half the length of a football field from the Tyler Street/NS crossing, and the unidentified by name youngster was transported to LaPorte Hospital to be treated for injuries. He was later released to relatives.
“It breaks my heart to see this kind of stuff,” Sullivan told KATU-TV’s Stan Maddux. “We’ve got a family without a mom now. That’s terrible. Its beyond description.”
The westbound train was one of 53 NS and Amtrak trains that cross Tyler Street in an average day at a maximum allowable speed of 79 mph, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. According to the same source, was the 7th accident to occur there, resulting in the crossing’s second death and second non-fatal injury. The most recent collision to occur there was on August 10, 2012, when an almost identical scenario allowed another disabled vehicle’s driver to escape his hung-up car without injury.