GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- A woman and two children were killed in a crash after a freight train hit a vehicle in Gary, Indiana Tuesday morning.
Gary police said the crash occurred around 7:30 a.m. at Miller Avenue and Howard Street.
Witnesses said the driver and two passengers in the car were killed instantly and thrown from the vehicle.
The Lake County Coroner has identified them as Shermika Herbert, 37, Deyki Mitchell, 13, and Deniya Brown, 11. They lived in Gary. The coroner's office initially identified Deyki as a girl but clarified Wednesday that he was a boy.
Tishri Williams was taking her son to school when the crash occurred. She said the driver was trying to dodge the oncoming train.
"The gates came down and I saw a car go over it, and the car made it," Williams said. "And then a guy comes from behind me and goes around myself and another car. And like the train is right there, and I just knew he was going to stop. I'm like, there's no way he's going to try and beat this train. But, he tried it and the train hit the back of the car and I saw him fly out of it."
"Silver car tried to beat the train," witness Melvin Brown said. "It went around the barrier and instantly they were hit by the train."
"It's gonna be stuck in my mind for a long time," Brown said.
Investigators were finished with their work by Tuesday afternoon. Railroad crews replaced the crossing gate and reopened the intersection.
"100% avoidable," Gary Police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said. "Going around the train tracks when the gates are down."
Gary Mayor Jerome Prince said in a statement: We all are saddened when we lose any of our friends and neighbors, but it's especially painful when we lose multiple members of a family, including young ones. We lost several members of a family in a train-car collision this morning. At this point, details are limited as different law enforcement agencies and the CSX railroad continue investigating this incident. Whatever the outcomes of these investigations, I implore every resident and visitor to be extra cautious when using every railroad crossing and please respect crossing gates and safety devices throughout our city.