Virginia residents may be aware that there have been several train-car collisions in the United States recently, and a number of people have been injured or killed in those accidents. Sadly, train-car accidents are often deadlier than motor vehicle accidents because of the size and momentum of a train, even when it is moving at a moderate speed. A recent train-car collision, about 20 miles west of Roanoke, is an example of this.

According to reports, a Norfolk Southern train struck a car near Elliston in neighboring Montgomery County. The collision occurred near the north fork of the Roanoke River. There were four occupants in the vehicle: a father and his three children. All four occupants were injured and they had to be rushed to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. The three children were airlifted and their father was taken by ambulance. At the hospital, the doctor pronounced the 3-year-old girl dead.

News reports state that the train was coming from West Virginia and was headed to Roanoke when the accident occurred. The train was reportedly moving at 40 miles per hour and was towing 109 freight cars. Additional information about the train-car accident, including the health condition of the accident survivors, were not yet released because the investigation was still being conducted by Norfolk Southern and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

There were two additional accidents in the same vicinity in 2011 and 2014. A Norfolk Southern train was involved in both incidents. In 2011, a Norfolk Southern train struck and killed two teenagers who were apparently walking on the railroad tracks, and in 2014 a train hit a dump truck. In that accident the truck driver was lucky enough to suffer only minor injuries.

Source: Roanoke Times, “3-year-old injured in Elliston train wreck dies,” Tiffany Stevens and Amy Friedenberger, March 26, 2015