ELKTON, SD (KELO) — Two people died Friday night in a fiery car-train collision in Elkton, SD.
At 7:06 p.m., a 2011 Kia Sorrento was traveling southbound on SD Highway 13. The Kia crashed through the railroad warning arm of the train crossing and struck the train that was crossing Hwy. 13. The vehicle caught fire and the two occupants were trapped inside.
The crash caused the train to derail into a grain barrel near the tracks. Crews have been out since early Saturday morning clearing the train cars and debris.
Both occupants of the car were pronounced dead at the scene.
Currently there is no information about the identities of the driver and passenger who died. Residents in Elkton say this crash is not one they will soon forget.
“They heard the cars kind of cling, cling, cling, cling, real rapidly. And one of the other people said something about it being so fast, but didn’t even realize it was a derailment until later,” said Daren Junker, resident and pastor.
“We haven’t had anything like that in town for as long as I’ve been there. We had a train derailment a few years ago but it was just a just a derailment,” said Jeff Brunsting, resident and firefighter.
Jeff Brunsting has been a resident for over 20 years and a firefighter for 15. He was one of the many firefighters called to the accident last night.
“The scariest part was what the train was hauling if it was hauling ethanol or any chemicals. So as a firefighter you worry about that. And if you have to evacuate town or you know just kind of welfare for the safety of the public,” Brunsting said.
Resident and pastor Daren Junker was downtown preparing for the annual Harvest Festival when the crash happened.
“By the time we were done with setting up here, all the emergency vehicles were around the different places and stuff, they were blocking all the streets,” Junker said.
Hwy. 13 was closed for several hours before reopening. Cornell Avenue on the west side of Elkton will be closed for the next several days until the derailed train cars are removed.
The names of the victims have not been released pending notification of family members.