According to the Associated Press, on March 23, 2011, a veteran BNSF Railway locomotive engineer, a conductor trainee and the shuttle driver giving them a ride were the three people killed on Wednesday afternoon when their van was struck by a freight train at a BNSF rail yard near Longview, Washington.
The dead include 58-year-old engineer Tom Kenny, a 22-year BNSF veteran based in Seattle, and Christopher Loehr, 28, a conductor trainee since January, also based in Seattle, Melonas said.
Loehr had recently moved to Seattle, according to The Columbian of Vancouver, Wash.
Kelso Police Chief Sandy Hamilton identified the van driver who was killed as Steven Sebastian, 60, of Castle Rock, Cowlitz County.
Hamilton said the third railway employee, Dwight Leonard Hauck, 52, of Auburn, is in critical condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland.
The van was crossing the tracks when it was struck by the freight train, which had three locomotives and was carrying 106 carloads of grain, Melonas said.
The private crossing has no lighted signals but is equipped with crossing signs and stop signs.
There were no reported injuries on the train, which did not derail. The train was from Crookston, Minn., and was headed to Seattle.
The vehicle landed at the bottom of a 25-foot embankment, more than 50 feet from the rail intersection.
Kalama resident Jason Mickelson, who was there about an hour after the crash, told The Daily News of Longview that the crossing should have had a better signal, even though it is mostly used by railroad employees.
“Somebody died in another crossing without a signal on it,” said Mickelson, who has friends who work on the railroad in the area.