(Henryville, Indiana – June 28, 2017)
The small southern Indiana community of Henryville was in shock following the tragic deaths of a brother and sister as well serious injuries to their mother when their eastbound SUV was struck by a northbound CSX freight train about 1:20 P.M. Wednesday. The collision occurred at the non-gated crossing of Indiana State Road 160 and railroad tracks owned and maintained by the Louisville & Indiana Railroad, one of a half dozen railroads owned by Chicago-based Anacostia Rail Holdings.
Erika Fouch, 32, of Henryville was flown to The University of Louisville Hospital (Henryville is about 30 minutes north of Louisville) for treatment of serious injuries. Her two children, Adalynn Fouch, 5, and Wyatt Fouch, 4, were pronounced dead at the scene. According to WAVE-TV, Channel 3 News’ Kasey Cunningham, the train, one of eight daily CSX and I&L trains which cross daily at a maximum allowable speed of 49 mph, hit the car and “the power of the train ripped the car in half, killing the children instantly.”
Cunningham interviewed Indiana DOT Spokesman Harry Maginity, who told her that “We will be looking very, very closely at this crossing to see if crossing arms need to be put in.”
CSX Railway Spokesperson Gail Lobin issued a statement which said, in part, that “CSX extends its deepest sympathies to all involved in today’s tragic accident, which is especially painful because it involves children.” However, Louisville & Indiana RR President John Goldman, in answer to a WHAS-TV Channel 11 News report that “Neighbors who live around the track say the trains go very fast, but there are no gate rails around the crossings.”
Sam McMinoway, who lives near the crossing, told Reporter Darcy Costello of The Louisville Courier-Journal said of the frequent, fast, trains, “This is bad here. The trains are pretty long and hard to stop.”
According to Federal Railroad Administration records, Wednesday’s tragedy was the first fatality, but not the first collision, to occur at the crossing. In January, 2014, a crash between another CSX train and a car driven by a 22-year-old woman resulted in her injury, and, according to The Courier-Journal, Clark County Sheriff’s Dept. Captain Scottie Maples said that “A Brinks truck and train crashed at the same crossing point June 5, around 1 PM.”
Meanwhile, WAVE’s Cunningham talked to Henryville Community Church, where the Fouch family attends, Pastor Denny Dillman, who lamented that “As you can imagine, it’s a pastor’s worst phone call. There are no words that can make this better.”