Teen driver dies after train hits car near Zeeland

Samantha Jo Lubbers. (Courtesy: Facebook)


ZEELAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A teenage girl has died after the car she was driving was hit by a freight train east of Zeeland, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Samantha Jo Lubbers, 17, was pulling out of the driveway of her home when the crash happened around 2:40 p.m Monday on Chicago Drive east of 64th Avenue in Zeeland Township, Ottawa County Sheriff’s authorities said. She was going slow, but didn’t see the train and pulled into its path.

The CSX train, which was going about 35 mph hauling 33 cars, hit the front passenger’s side of Lubbers’ Ford Focus, causing it to roll.

Samantha Jo Lubbers. (Courtesy: Facebook)

Lubbers was pinned in and had to be freed by firefighters. Authorities say she was unresponsive at the scene before being airlifted to a Grand Rapids hospital.

The railroad crossing where the crash happened doesn’t have red flashing lights to warn drivers about oncoming train, nor does it have an arm to prevent cars from driving onto the railroad tracks. Instead, there’s a stop sign and another sign that warns drivers about trains.

The engineer and conductor on the train weren’t hurt.