Kids Dead After Mom Tries to Skirt Train Crossing
Girls, 5 and 4, killed in collision with train
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2013 12:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tara Lewman drove up to a railroad crossing in Batavia, Iowa, on Monday afternoon, and stopped because the gates were down. To the east was a freight train parked on the tracks, and after an unknown length of time, she made the tragic decision to drive around the gates—and two of her children ended up dead. The parked train blocked her view of the oncoming westbound train that hit her Dodge Caravan, the Des Moines Register reports. Kallie Clark, 5, and Erika Clark, 4, were killed. Lewman, 25, and Jordan Clark, 1, were taken to the hospital; their conditions are not known.

A witness describes a heart-wrenching scene to KCCI: "I heard the sound of impact. When I got there, she was trying to pull her baby out of the car seat. It had been thrown out of the van. The other two were laying quite a ways away from the van. She would talk, but she was totally incoherent. She just kept talking about her babies." Locals say drivers go around the crossing arms often, and one woman says she recently saw a near-miss. "I’ve just been hoping that something like this didn’t happen," she says. The crossing has seen two previous vehicle-train collisions since 1975, one of which killed a car passenger.

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Apr 6, 2013 8:53 PM CDT
Don't those engines have REALLY loud air horns that you can hear for about a mile?
Apr 4, 2013 12:22 PM CDT
That DA has a big decision to make. She endangered & caused the death of 2 of her children. But she's so messed up, what's prosecuting her going to accomplish? She's probably suicidal.
Apr 3, 2013 10:57 PM CDT
Uncle of mine works in trains. Tells us all the time to never risk it. If the gates are down you never cross, even if you can't see or hear a thing. He talks about how fast they move... How you can look down in the direction they're coming from, not see them, and then in less time than it takes to blink, they'll be rushing by you.