Police say the driver of a truck went around gates at a railroad crossing in Pierron and was killed when a train hit his vehicle Thursday.
The southbound CSX train collided with the truck around 2 p.m. at the point where the tracks cross Route 143 in Pierron, a small town on the border between Madison and Bond counties.
Illinois State Police Trooper Calvin Dye said it appears the driver of the truck tried to beat the train.
“Preliminary investigative details indicate the driver of the Dodge truck was traveling westbound on Illinois Route 143 at Railroad Crossing Road toward Highland,” Dye said. “The gates were down, and the railroad crossbuck flashing lights were activated. The driver drove around the lowered gates and entered the railroad right-of-way.”
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The identity of the 38-year-old driver of the truck was not immediately released, pending notification of his family.
Initially investigators thought there might have been more than one person in the truck. However, they eventually concluded that the driver who died at the scene was alone, Dye said.
Pieces of the 2006 truck littered the area around the crossing as officials tried to piece together what happened.
Rescue crews and officers from Illinois State Police, Highland Fire Department, CSX Railroad Police, Highland-Pierron Fire District and others were present at the scene.
CSX spokeswoman Kristin Seay said in a statement released Thursday afternoon that train traffic along the route has been suspended while railroad officials and local investigators are at work.
Seay said the train was led by three locomotives hauling eight cars of mixed freight from Cleveland to East St. Louis. She wouldn’t comment on the incident further.
For more on this story as it develops, return to bnd.com or read the News-Democrat on Friday.