published Saturday, May 4th, 2013

3 killed when car collides with train in Georgia

TOCCOA, Ga. — Three people died when a passenger train smashed into a car as it moved over railroad tracks at a darkened, unprotected crossing in northern Georgia, a sheriff said Saturday.

The violent crash at about 9:45 p.m. Friday killed all three people — a man and two women in their 20s — inside in the 2008 Mazda that collided with the Amtrak train, said Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley. He said the train struck the car at about 60 mph and pushed it roughly 300 feet. The car overturned into a ravine and caught fire.

No passengers on the train were injured, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The sheriff said the train was traveling to Washington from New Orleans.

The crash occurred at a railroad crossing marked by only a stop sign in Toccoa, about 96 miles northeast of Atlanta. Investigators found no sign that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, Shirley said. The victims’ bodies were taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime lab in Atlanta or autopsies.

All three of the people killed were from the Atlanta suburb of Austell and were traveling to visit family in Toccoa, the sheriff said.

The victims’ names were being withheld by authorities pending notification of their families.

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