2 killed in Gary freight train-car crash at Lake, Miller

A deadly collision at a rail crossing in Gary, Indiana claims two lives as a car collides with a freight train.
A deadly collision at a rail crossing in Gary, Indiana claimed two lives when a car collides with a freight train.

The driver, Renee McKenzie, 29, of Gary, and her fiance, William Curry, 32, of Chicago, were instantly killed in the accident, which officials say occurred around 7 a.m. Friday.

McKenzie's sister said that she tried to call her cell phone early Friday morning the coroner answered the phone.

"When I called the phone, the coroner answered," Tyeshia Banks said. "He asked me some questions, he asked me what type of tattoos she had and I knew something was wrong then. They said that she was dead."

McKenzie recently moved to the Gary area and was on her way to work in Chicago. One of 16 siblings, she comes from a close family and Friday morning, they gathered outside the family home to comfort each other.

McKenzie worked two jobs, one in home health care, taking care of the elderly.

"She was a great woman and I'm not just saying that because she's my niece," the victim's uncle, Eddy McKenzie said. "She's got a little daughter and she was working two jobs to provide for her and her little daughter."

Witnesses said they saw the car drive around the crossing gates near Miller Avenue and Lake Street as the train approached.

"He didn't even stop. He went around the gates. I just saw pieces of car fly off, I didn't realize that it was the entire vehicle that was dragged down the tracks," said a witness who did not wish to be identified.

Others say the gates and signals at the intersection were working at the time of the crash.

"We had another killing about three or four years ago, a family tried to beat the train, and the same thing happened," said Steve Schwenkel, an area resident.

The train was heading from Chicago to Ohio carrying 42 cars.

"It's sad, I hope everybody around here takes heed and just take your time, be patient," said Jermaine Robinson, an area resident.

No one on the train was injured.

Gary Police said the victims had their seat belts on, but the accident happened at a dangerous intersection. This is also the sight of a deadly accident two years ago where a driver tried to cross the gates.
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