SUTERSVILLE, Pa. — Car parts were scattered along the train tracks in Sutersville Wednesday morning after Mary Ann Keegan, 76, was killed when her van was hit by an oncoming train right in the heart of town.
Neighbor Dawna Steban lives right by the train tracks.
She said she could hear something happen before she saw it.
“When you hear the bells, something’s wrong,” Steban said.
Keegan’s vehicle was struck by the train after driving over the tracks at the 4th Avenue crossing.
Firefighters said a train heading westbound and had just cleared the intersection.
They believe Keegan started to cross the tracks as an oncoming train heading eastbound was approaching and hit her.
“There are a lot of close calls that come through here. It’s just the nature of living in a town with a rail line running right through the center of it; the trains are pretty unforgiving,” Sutersville Fire Chief Mark Ghion said.
According to the Westmoreland County Officer of the Coroner, it appeared Keegan disregarded the railroad traffic signal before crossing. The train hit its brakes and honked its horn before striking her car.
The tracks run through the whole town of Sutersville, but not every crossing has lights and arms that come down.
Neighbors said they would like to see more safety measures at every intersection.
“Especially this one here, because kids ride their bikes up and down that hill,” Steban said.
“It’s unfortunate when this happens, but it does happen with enough frequency that you never get used to it — but it is a semi-common occurrence, but the only thing you can do is be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to what’s going on,” Ghion said.
©2022 Cox Media Group