Melanie Adams-Swearengen, 35, was killed after the SUV she was driving got stuck on train tracks and an oncoming Amtrak train hit the car before she was able to escape or drive away
A St. Louis, Missouri lawyer was killed after her SUV got stuck on train tracks and the car was struck by an oncoming Amtrak train.
According to authorities, Melanie Adams-Swearengen, 35, had driven off the road and near train tracks in Brighton, Illinois, on Wednesday evening. She then got stuck on the tracks while trying to cross them.
An approaching Amtrak train, traveling from Chicago to St. Louis, hit the car at about 10pm, Illinois State Police said. During the collision, Adams-Swearengen was ejected from her car.
She was declared dead at the scene, reports KSDK.
Authorities did not provide an immediate explanation for why Adams-Swearengen was trying to cross the train tracks in an area that is not an established train crossing place.
The section of the tracks where the collision occurred is under construction.
Adams-Swearengen’s husband, Shaun Swearengen, told FOX2 Now that she had been on the phone with her when she got stuck on the train tracks that night.
Adams-Swearengen’s husband, Shaun Swearengen, said that she was driving home and she was on the phone with him when the SUV got stuck. She hung up before the collision
He said that Adams-Swearengen recently started a new job located in the area near where the collision occurred and was returning from dropping off a friend. He and his wife were talking, when her GPS apparently alerted her that there was no route for her to return home.
Adams-Swearengen, who has a young daughter, then apparently told her husband that she was going to turn the car around and that’s when she got stuck on the tracks.
Before the call ended, Swearengen said he heard the car’s engine rev as his wife attempted to move the car. She then told him that she was going to call AAA and call him back.
She never had the chance to do so.
Adams-Swearengen was hit by an Amtrak train bound for St. Louis, Missouri at about 10pm
Passengers reported the train car filled with smoke and they heard what sounded like the train derailing, but was probably the train pushing the car along the tracks
Amtrak officials said there were 44 passengers on the train at the time and that one required transport to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries
Amtrak officials said that there were 44 passengers on the train when the crash occurred.
Passenger Kurt Kaufmann told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there was ‘a noticeable jerk, then a smaller one’ when the train and car collided. The train car in front of him then filled with smoke. He added that Amtrak employees told the passengers that the train had struck an unoccupied vehicle.
Another passenger, Gary Bolen, told KMOV that he had been sleeping when the collision took place. He reported feeling ‘some very violent moving around and vibration sounded like the train derailed but I guess it was just pushing the car’ along the tracks.
Authorities said one train passenger was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. The other 43 passengers were transferred to another train four hours after the incident and continued their journey, arriving in St. Louis at around 6am, according to Amtrak. Four trains were delayed by the crash.
Illinois State Police are investigating the incident. The Macoupin County Coroner is waiting for the results of a toxicology test before stating cause of death, according to RiverBender.
Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company would be reviewing camera footage from aboard the train as part of its standard crash procedures.
Magliari stated that, ‘These kinds of incidents are always avoidable by drivers or pedestrians if they heed the warnings from the approaching train.’
He also said that, ‘These incidents are not only tragic for the driver, but also for the crew members.’