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Freight train collides with van, five family members dead

March 10, 1997

SIDNEY, Ohio (AP) _ A freight train collided with a van at a railroad crossing where there are no gates or warning lights, killing a couple and their three teen-age children inside the van.

The van was hit Sunday afternoon by the southbound train on the CSX track about three miles south of this western Ohio city, Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies said.

Dead at the scene were David Horner, 44, of Vandalia, his wife, Kathryn, 43; sons Jonathon, 18, and Preston, 13, and 17-year-old daughter, Carmen. Two of the victims were ejected from the van.

Harold Brandon, 44, who lives about 100 feet from the crossing, said he heard the train’s whistle ``screaming continuously,″ then ``all of a sudden I heard a big thud.″

He said he called 911 and could see the van upside down through the passing railroad cars.

The crossing about 35 miles north of Dayton has signs but no gates or warning lights.