Four people were “immediately incinerated” and killed early Wednesday morning when an SUV attempted to cross a railroad crossing and hit a freight car outside Chicago, officials said.
“There’s no way for us to know the motivation of someone driving a car,” said Jason Baumann, a spokesman for the town of Harvey, which is near the crash site. . “It’s just sad that we’re sitting here today and there are four people in their 20s and 30s who aren’t going home today because of this.”
Authorities have identified Jeremy Robinson of Riverdale, Illinois as the driver, and Xavier Moore, Tieasha Rush and Jada Moore, all of Chicago, as passengers, according to ABC7.
The train door at the intersection of 155th and Halsted streets was broken and working properly when the accident happened, as the Dodge Durango SUV attempted to ram the train through the crossing, officials say emergencies.
It took police more than an hour to extract the mangled wreckage from the tracks, and a medical examiner is currently inspecting the bodies of those inside, whose families have been notified. Officials say gathering evidence from the car, which is now in police hands, could be difficult.
“It’s terrible that this is happening,” Baumann added. “It kind of reminds us of how dangerous train intersections can be. We have to be very aware of this and make sure that we seek.
Police in the city of Phoenix, Illinois, along with the Federal Railroad Administration, are investigating the accident with a CSX locomotive.
“There were no injuries to the train crew. CSX sends its deepest condolences to everyone affected by this tragic incident, and we will work to support local law enforcement as they investigate,” a the company said in a statement.
Officials say the train was largely past the crossing at the time of the crash, and it appears the SUV struck the last passing carriage around 2 a.m. before bursting into flames.
Emergency crews who arrived on the scene found the SUV burnt out, as the train continued its journey.