(Clark County, Illinois – February 22, 2012)
A man and woman died late Wednesday afternoon about 4:00 P.M. when the white Pontiac Grand Am the female was driving was struck broadside on the passenger side by a CSX freight train at the dangerous, unguarded rural grade crossing of Fern Lake Road and CSX railroad tracks in northeast Clark County, IL, near Farrington, IL, and just across the state line from Indiana.
Two of three children in the car’s back seat, Korbin L. Moore, 4, Emily D. Lenges, 2, and Brianne Lenges, 1, all of Terre Haute, IN, were seriously injured and were all transported first to Union Hospital in Terre Haute, IN, and then airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital, where both Korbin and Emily later died, while the adult couple, Amber N. Smith, 23, of Terre Haute, IN, and Rodney A. Maer, 24, of Martinsville, IL, were pronounced dead at the scene. All five victims were properly using their seat belts, but to no avail due to the massive force of the train.
The Fern Lake Road crossing is marked solely by passive railroad crossbuck signs and lacks any form of automatic protection, like lights, bells or gates, whatsoever, even though an average of 26 trains traverse the crossing daily at speeds of between 55 and 60 mph.
Responding to the horrible tragedy were the Illinois State Police, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Dept. of Conservation, the Marshall Fire Dept. and Trans-Care EMT.