Metro-East News

Mother, toddler seriously injured after train strikes car in Sparta

Police say a 22-year-old mother and her 2-year-old daughter were hurt when the car they were in was hit by a Canadian National freight train at a crossing Thursday morning in Sparta.

Sparta Police Chief Sean Lukes said Kelly Rubel of Perryville and her daughter were in a Chrysler PT Cruiser headed north when it was hit at the crossing near Chester Road and First Street by the eastbound train shortly after 10 a.m. The car was pushed approximately 200 yards along the tracks, Lukes said.

The child was flown to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis. Rubel was first taken to Sparta Community Hospital and then flown to Saint Louis University Hospital. Lukes said their injuries were serious but not considered life-threatening.

No other damage or injuries were reported.

Lukes said Illinois State Police investigators are conducting a crash reconstruction.

Canadian National spokesman Patrick Waldron said the crossing where the collision occurred is equipped with lights but no gates. He said the train crew is cooperating with local officials but declined further comment.

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