3 killed in train-car crash in McComb, Miss.

Published 2:47 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three people are dead, including a 2-year-old, after a passenger train collided with a car at a railroad crossing Monday in an industrial section of the city.

McComb Police Chief Greg Martin said the accident happened about 3:30 p.m. Monday as Amtrak’s northbound City of New Orleans train traveled through the area.

Deputy Police Chief Scott McKenzie said the train was about three-quarters of a mile south of the train depot when the accident occurred. “It was coming in for a stop, so it was coming in slower than it would have been,” he said.

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A car with four people inside was pushed down the track some 20 to 30 yards.

“From what we can tell, it just doesn’t appear that they stopped at the crossing or stop sign,” said McKenzie.

An investigation into the cause of the wreck continues, McKenzie said.

Witnesses told investigators they heard the train’s horn as it approached the area. The crossing doesn’t have crossing arms or lights.

Martin identified the victims as LaTrisha Earl, 17; LaRoy Hood, 12; and 2-year-old Makayla Perkins, all of McComb. The fourth person in the car, Chris Brown, 17, of McComb, was taken by ambulance to an area hospital in critical condition. The toddler was thrown from the vehicle, while Hood’s body was found under the car. Earl’s body had to be removed from the wreckage.

McKenzie said it was unclear who was driving the car.

There were no injuries reported by any of the 112 passengers on the train, which didn’t have much damage.

Amtrak spokeswoman Karina Romero said the train was headed from New Orleans to Chicago and was delayed about 1 1/2 hours before it continued on to Chicago. She said the track speed in the area is 60 miles per hour. She did not know exactly how fast the train was going at the time of the accident, but said that would be part of the investigation into the wreck.