Train crash kills 2, injures mother

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Reported by: Farron Salley
Updated: 10/02/2013 1:23 pm Published: 10/01/2013 4:17 pm

Students and faculty in the Oologah-Talala school district are mourning the loss of two elementary students who died in a car accident after school Monday.

The collision took place when a vehicle was struck by a train near Highway 169.

The superintendent told FOX23 the crash is hard for many of the staff because the mother, the driver in the accident, also worked on the campus.

Counselors and local pastors were at both neighboring elementary schools early Tuesday morning.

"They're very active students, one of the first things that was told to me was they're just very precious children," said Rob Armstrong, the district superintendent.

Their mother also worked in the cafeteria, making it hard for even the adults to stay strong.

"With her being an employee here we have got to work with her colleagues as well and providing not only our teachers but our staff members as well any type of services that we can to help get through this tough situation," he said

He said by recess many of the students were able to laugh and play again, but there was a different feel when they arrived in the morning.

"Our kids some of them came in and were very quiet some of them came in quite upset and some of them just kind of reserved and we've made people available if they wanted to talk to somebody," he said.

The soccer team wore their uniforms in tribute to their player and friend.

"It's going to be tough situation for kids closer to them and for all of us in our community and our school district. We're wondering why, kids will ask that, staff members will ask that and I ask that myself 'why do things like this happen to good people,'" he said.

Unlike many railroad crossings you may be used to seeing, there were no cross bars that dropped as the train pulled closer.

When trains approach a town they do slow down but it could take them the distance of several football fields to actually stop.

"From my past experience it take at least a mile, a mile for them to stop and i believe the one yesterday they said it took about a mile for it to stop," said Mike McElhaney, the Nowata Police Chief.

Crossings like the one near the elementary school are tall. They have lights that will flash and crossing arms that will drop down to block the intersection. But away from more populated areas are less marked ones.

"Even if there isn't arms there the cross bucks at the intersection also mean to stop and look before you proceed across the tracks and a lot of people don't know that," he said.
He told FOX23 train drivers are required to honk as they approach a crossing.

"I see a lot of people that try to race the trains and it doesn't pay," he said.

The OHP report on the crash said the driver was not trying to race the train, but got distracted.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 10/1/2013 7:12 PM
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Very saddening. Condolences to the friends family and associates of these two precious little girls. Lost too soon in life.
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