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Driver dies after pickup hits 'side of the train'

Cary Ashby • Updated Mar 14, 2019 at 3:12 PM

BERLIN TWP. — The lone occupant of a pickup truck is dead after a fiery collision with a train Wednesday night.

The accident happened just before 7 p.m. at the railroad crossing on Ohio 61 between U.S. 6 and Ohio 2 in Erie County’s Berlin Township.

“The individual went right through the gate and directly into the side of the train,” said Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth, who added it’s believed the train was going between 50 and 60 mph.

The southbound Dodge pickup truck hit one of the last cars on the train. After the collision, the vehicle rolled over, caught fire and “was engulfed by flames,” Sigsworth said.

Pending a positive identification, authorities are not releasing the identity or gender of the victim.

“Obviously, it’s still under investigation,” Sigsworth said.

When asked if drugs or alcohol were possible factors, the sheriff said that type of information won’t be available until the coroner’s report is finished. Also, Sigsworth said there is no indication of distracted driving.

In addition to the sheriff’s deputies, firefighters from Berlin and Huron townships, North Central EMS, Erie County Coroner Dr. Brian Baxter and Foster Funeral Home and Crematory in Huron responded to the scene. A trooper with the state Highway Patrol handled traffic control.

Ohio 61 between U.S. 6 and Ohio 2 was closed for about three hours.

Sigsworth was asked about other accidents at that Ohio 61 railroad crossing, which has operational gates. The sheriff said about a year ago there was an accident involving someone driving “at a high rate of speed” who lost control, but it didn’t involve a train.

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