Two children were killed by a train when their mother drove around the warning gates. Tara Lewman of Iowa reportedly survived the collision along with her 1-year-old daughter Jordan. Lewman’s other two children Erika, age 4, and Kallie, age 5, were killed in the crash.
Lewman, age 25, reportedly approached the tracks and stopped as the warning gates and lights were on. She waited for brief period of time but the only visible train was stopped on the tracks.
As reported by the Des Moines Register, Lewman proceeded to drive around the gates. The stopped train obstructed the view another track and a moving train. As Lewman drove onto the track, her van was struck by the moving train.
Railroad crews assisted emergency workers who responded to the scene, but two of the children were killed by the train. The mother and 1-year-old child were transported to the hospital by helicopter.
Residents living near the tracks report that it is common to see people driving around the safety gates. As reported by KCCI News, one resident pointed out that there are times when the gates seem to remain down for long periods of time with no trains in sight.
Batavia Fire Chief Dave Wells states that trains rarely slow down when passing through their small town. The community, which has around 500 residents, has seen several train related accidents throughout the years.
An Amtrak passenger train derailed in 1990, injuring numerous passengers. Additionally, Lewman’s collision with the train was the third train-vehicle crash at that intersection since 1975.
The hospital has refused requests for information on Lawman’s condition. However, she has reportedly left the hospital. No information has been released about the condition of her surviving daughter.
Lewman’s family and friends describe her as a good mother who would “do anything for the kids.” She reportedly had a clean driving record preceding the collision.
Authorities remind drivers that there are too many cases involving children and adults killed by trains. Driving around warning gates can lead to devastating consequences. It just isn’t worth the risk.