Truck driver killed when semi, train collide

US-131 semi-truck train crash 032014

MOTTVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A semi-truck driver was killed Thursday when his truck collided with a train near the Michigan-Indiana border.

The victim has been identified as Bobby Abell, 77, from Quincy, Ill., according to the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department.

The collision occurred around 5 p.m. on U.S. 131 north of Indian Prairie Road, just southwest of White Pigeon in St. Joseph County.

Abell was driving south and approaching the train tracks as the Grand Elk train was crossing, police said. Abell’s vehicle collided with a rail car at the crossing, and the rail car overturned. Abell was pronounced dead at the scene. A train engineer suffered minor injuries.Emergency crews on the scene where a semi-truck and train collided near White Pigeon. (March 20, 2014)

Witnesses at the scene told police the gates and lights at the crossing appeared to be working properly prior to the crash.

Witnesses also said Abell’s vehicle did not appear to slow down, but police said speed was not a factor.

An autopsy has been scheduled to determine if Abell suffered a medical condition prior to the crash. Police do not know if alcohol was a factor or if Abell wore a seat belt.

Both lanes of the road were closed until 4:40 a.m. Friday as crews cleared the “large-scale incident,” as described by White Pigeon Township Fire Department Assistant Chief Tyler Royce.

He said there were no hazards following the crash — no fire and few leaking fluids.

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