ELKHART – One man is dead after a car and train crashed near the intersection of C.R. 13 and C.R. 45 in Elkhart on Friday morning, May 2.
Emergency crews were called to the scene of the crash at about 11:13 a.m., according to Capt. Jim Bradberry of the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department.
Bradberry said the train was traveling northwest approaching the crossing at C.R. 13. A man driving a red van was going south on C.R. 13 and drove around the crossing gates into the train's path.
At about 12:15 p.m., Coroner John White was on the scene talking to sheriff's deputies. The man driving the car was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity will not be released until his family is notified, Bradberry said.
As of 12:30 p.m. a red vehicle could be seen underneath the train, and officers put up yellow tape on the west side of the train tracks. Bradberry said the tanks that the train was hauling contained flammable materials, but officials were not too concerned because the tanks were not damaged.
Bradberry said the department's crash team will continue investigating to determine why the driver crossed the tracks.
C.R. 13 will be closed in that area for the next several hours while authorities continue their investigation, Bradberry said.
Jenee Paulus was on her way home with her child in her car when she stopped at the crossing on C.R. 13 facing north. She saw the red van driving around the gates and getting swept away by the train.
She said it took her a few seconds to comprehend what she had just seen.
"I sat there looking around, seeing if other people were getting out of their car," she said. "I get out, and a woman behind me said 'call 911.'"
Tammy Killian was on her way to work when she stopped at the crossing behind a few other vehicles. She said that what she saw felt like something from a horror movie.
"The train would not stop," she said. "It was moving pretty quick."
Reporter Ann Elise Taylor contributed to this report. We will continue to provide information as we learn more.