Grandfather killed in Effingham train crash

EFFINGHAM — A car/train crash in Effingham Wednesday took the life of a 67-year-old Effingham man who was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Effingham County Coroner’s Office, Ernest L. Rich was the only occupant of the vehicle that struck the side of a Canadian National freight train Wednesday morning on the north side of Effingham.

Rich had reportedly just dropped off his two grandchildren at school and was heading home at the time of the crash.

Preliminary investigation indicates the crossing lights and gates were working at the time of the crash. The conductor and engineer were not injured in the crash.

The crash came just one day after two people were killed when a pickup truck pulled directly into the path of a train in far southern Illinois.

Illinois State Police say the truck’s driver had turned Tuesday morning onto a private lane in Pulaski County, drove onto a rail crossing and into the path of a northbound Canadian National Railway train.

The train slammed into the truck, pushing it about a half-mile before stopping. The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale reports the 76-year-old driver, Lanny Stocke and 74-year-old Betty Stocke, both of Carmi, were killed. The collision occurred about 20 miles east of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.