Dallas DART Incident

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by rockislandmike, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Girl, 3, killed in DART collision
    Police say mother was trying to beat light-rail train through crossing


    By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News

    A 3-year-old girl was killed Monday evening after the car in which she was riding tried to drive around crossing arms and was struck by a DART light-rail train in far northeast Dallas.

    Alexis Killebrew died from her injuries at 5:52 p.m. at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, the Dallas County medical examiner's office said.

    Police said she was riding in the back seat of the car when her mother drove around a lowered crossing arm near TI Boulevard and Restland Road in an attempt to beat a DART light-rail commuter train. The train slammed into the rear of the car. Authorities said Alexis was not riding in a child seat.

    Officials say toddler Alexis Killebrew died from her injuries after a light-rail train slammed into her family's car.
    "This is the first collision between a DART light-rail vehicle and a car that resulted in a fatality," said Morgan Lyons, a Dallas Area Rapid Transit spokesman. "The lesson here is don't challenge the train.

    "The train always wins."

    Charges against the girl's mother are possible, said Dallas police Sgt. Steve Shaw. "It depends on what the accident investigator finds," he said. "My guess is they will go to a grand jury referral on the mom."

    The child's father, who was in the front passenger seat, carried the bleeding child from the car and laid her down nearby as June Levescy began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, witnesses said.

    "I kept thinking, 'OK, Lord, let's not lose this one,' " said the Garland woman.

    The girl's injuries were too severe, officials said.

    The mother was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital with unknown injuries. Witnesses told police that, as bystanders tried to help the child and calm her frantic mother, the father began to act suspiciously. Police recovered a pistol near the scene, and witnesses said that at one point, the father fled down a nearby embankment to a stream, then returned. He eventually left with someone in a gold car, witnesses said. He ended up at Parkland, police said.

    When investigators attempted to question the man there, he attacked an officer, Sgt. Shaw said.

    "We didn't file charges on him because his baby had just died," the sergeant said, adding that charges would be filed soon. The DART train was traveling between 45 and 55 mph when the collision occurred, Mr. Lyons said. Each section of the three-car train weighs about 107,000 pounds empty, he said.

    The train was loaded with about 200 rush-hour passengers, who remained on the train for about 90 minutes before DART officials could load them onto buses. The section of rail between the LBJ/Central Station and Spring Valley Station was closed until about 8 p.m. while Dallas police and DART investigators examined the scene. North- and southbound travelers were transported by bus around the closed section, then loaded back onto trains, Mr. Lyons said.

    "Everybody was wondering what happened," Jana Hadas of Richardson said as she exited the stranded train Monday evening. "All I felt were hard brakes."

    As they exited, the commuters filed past the destroyed car. Its rear end, where the young girl had been sitting, was a mass of twisted metal. A teal-and-black diaper bag lay nearby, alongside a Mickey Mouse diaper, a roll of paper towels, a pile of clothing and a child's shoe.

    DART's last light-rail fatality occurred in October 2000, when a train struck a man walking on the tracks near the Morrell Station, Mr. Lyons said.

    In December 2001, a Trinity Railway Express train collided with a van in Irving, killing a 61-year-old man. He had attempted to drive around a crossing arm, Mr. Lyons said.

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