1 dead, 1 injured after 2 vehicles hit same train in Brownsburg

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BROWNSBURG, Ind. — One person is dead, and another person is injured after two vehicles collided with the same train in Brownsburg Monday night.

The Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office confirmed around 11:47 p.m. on December 2, deputies were dispatched to a vehicle crash involving a train near the 6900 block of County Road 900 East near Brownsburg.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found that a 2017 Jeep had driven  into the side of a moving CSX train.

At the time of the incident, officers reported that the Jeep was turned on its side, and the driver was taken to an area hospital after sustaining minor injuries.

While emergency crews were working to remove the Jeep from the train tracks, a 2008 Lincoln SUV crashed into the same train near the 8800 block of East County Road 700 North.

Police say the SUV struck the train head-on while it was stopped at the 700 North intersection further down the railway around 12:24 a.m. on December 3.

The driver of the SUV, Dennis Swanson, 43, of Brownsburg, was pronounced dead on scene as a result of the crash.

“I’m sorry to her that somebody was hurt. I was afraid there might have been something the way the car looked,” Neighbor Mildred Gurge said.

Both areas have some signage for railroad tracks, but not railroad cross arms.

Indiana Department of Transportation says it’s up to communities to add them.

“Nothing in Indiana law prevents local government agencies from funding the improvement of warning devices at the crosses under their jurisdiction,” INDOT Communications Director Debbie Calder said.

INDOT does provides grants through the federal highway-rail crossing safety fund; however it’s only for areas deemed the most hazardous.

“For example how many trains are going through there on a daily basis? The speed of the train? How much traffic is going over the certain railroad track? The physical characteristic of the track? The effectiveness of the proposed improvements?,” Calder said.

Calder says if road owners add something like cross arms then the railroad must maintain it.

Mildred Gurge says in the 50 years she’s lived here, she’s only known of one incident before last night.

She doesn’t know if more signage is needed but wants people to be safe driving across the tracks.

According to police, the primary cause of the first crash is believed to be lack of attention paid by the driver of the Jeep.

Officials said the cause of the second crash is still under investigation.

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