Mom Ignores Train Track Gate & the Absolute Worst Happens

train tracksTwo children were recently killed when their mother ignored the train track gates and drove over the tracks, colliding with an oncoming train. Four-year-old Erika Clark and 5-year-old Kallie Clark were tragically killed the instant the train hit the minivan. Mom Tara Lewman and 1-year-old daughter Jordan Clark are currently in the hospital -- their conditions unknown.

Apparently, after waiting for a while to cross the tracks, Lewman decided to drive around the lowered crossing arms, and past a stopped train. But when she was crossing the tracks, she realized that a second, moving train -- which she hadn't seen because had been blocked by the first (stopped) train -- was coming right at them.

Although driving around lowered crossing arms sounds like a crazy thing to do, and it's something most of us wouldn't do, apparently this is a fairly common practice at the Iowa intersection where the accident took place. And it's so, so sad that someone -- children, no less -- had to be made the example of.

Most of us break little rules all the time and don't even think twice. We cross the street when we shouldn't. We make a right on red when no one's around. We drive 40 mph in a 35. Of course, we don't think we're doing anything wrong, and we don't think anything will happen to us, but once in a great while, something does happen to someone. And that person is the example. And as awful and terrible as it is, it's a reminder to those of us more fortunate that there are rules for a reason. We're the lucky ones who get to look on and think, "That could have been me." And we learn to never do it again.

It's a heartbreaking tragedy that these two innocent girls had their lives taken away from them by something that could have easily been prevented. But hopefully, this will prevent other people from ever doing this again.

Thoughts and prayers to the family.

Do you ever break small rules?


Image via FuLinHyu/Flickr

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My sympathy to the family and friends of those sweet little girls.  As for me, I never mess around with Train's territory....if the arm is down, the lights blinking and/or the train horn is sounding off, I am staying put until the coast is clear.

worki... workingmama86

how tragic! :(  That is something I have never done, and definitely would never do. In my state it is not illegal to turn right on red though... only if there is a sign saying otherwise.. 

Vegeta Vegeta

Turning on red or going 5mph over the limit are not even in the same galaxy as playing chicken with a freaking train. If the arms are down just wait the 30 seconds it takes for the train to go by. Oh I just remembered this is America, makesure to sue the gate/arm company for making gates so short you can drive around them. Your own bad decisions shouldn't be at fault.

thatg... thatgirl70

Both of my husband's uncles were train engineers and one hit a car driven by someone who chose to ignore the warnings and drove over the tracks anyway. Trains can't stop on a dime, the gates and warning systems are in place for a reason and you leave an engineer tramautized by the fact that he just hit someone.

Kzint... KzintiFeline

I have to shamefully admit that I did this one time.  There was only one train track, and I could clearly see the train coming from a long way away.  It was moving VERY VERY slowly.  The car in front of me went around the barriers, and I sat there for a few minutes (and the train was STILL very far away and moving very slowly), so I did the same.  

I didn't know that right on red was illegal anywhere if it is not posted as prohibited.  What I DO know is that you are required to make a full stop before turning right on red, which many people do not do and this ticks me off tremendously, especially when they just speed around the corner right in front of me when I have the right of way.

Allison Vandiver

I completely agree with Vegeta, not even in the same ballpark! Right on red is legal here as well. But the accident is tragic... I've never went through a train crossing though. I'd be too terrified and this is exactly why I wouldn't. I just hate that this family others have to learn this way. Praying for the mom and 1 year old. :(

gothi... gothicmama75

There was an incident locally where I used to live were the bus driver was crossing the tracks and the arms came down and there was no train in sight and no workers truck either. Scared the hell out of the driver and the kids. the kids were late to school because the driverr called the railroad to notify them of the arm having a malfunction. My son was on the bus and the parents of children were all called. So that if the kids said something parents wouldnt freak. I have taught my kids to stay away from the tracks and my hubby does all the driving.

loups... loupsgarou333

Around here, our crossing arms can stay lowered for an hour or more with no trains ever going by.  People go around them all of the time.  There is usually no place to back up or turn around.

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