OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A train crashed into a car Sunday night, killing three young adults and leaving those who knew them wondering what happened.
A high-speed Amtrak passenger train crashed into the vehicle the victims were in around 10 p.m. Sunday at the railroad crossing at W KL Avenue and 11th Street in Oshtemo Township. No one on the train was hurt. All of the people in the car were killed.
Michigan State Police identified the victims as Jordan Brooks, 18; Marcionna Edwards, 19; and Jarmaine Brown, 20. All three were pronounced dead at the scene.
The vehicle involved was destroyed beyond recognition, the cabin torn in two. Other debris scattered for yards as the vehicle was dragged down the tracks until the train could finally stop.
Douglas Parker said he knew all three of the victims. He came to the railroad crossing Monday afternoon to see it for himself.
“They was good kids,” Parker said. “All of them was good kids.”
Parker is among those left with questions.
“You can hear a train coming,” Parker said. “How do you even get hit by a train that you can hear coming?”
MSP has not released details about what might have caused the crash. Officers said an investigation is exploring all possibilities. Police did not say which of the three victims was driving.
Neighbors in the area questioned whether icy roads played a role. Perhaps, they suggested, the vehicle slid into harm’s way.
WITNESS: ‘IT’S SAD, IT’S TERRIFYING’
Amtrak Wolverine 355 passenger Amir Baz told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone that he was on his way home to Chicago from Ann Arbor when he felt the train shake.
“As I’m walking, I hear a loud bump,” Baz recalled.
At first, he thought the train had sideswiped another one going the other direction. After the train came to a sudden stop, he could hear first responders arriving. He said they were then told the train had hit a vehicle.
Baz said he could see that the safety gates were down at the railroad crossing and that the lights were activated.
“What I heard from personnel was apparently they were saying the car was impatient — too impatient to wait for the train and thought it could make it. (It) went around the first bar and tried getting through,” he said.
“Three people lost their lives. It’s one of those moments where you really have to put your life in perspective and not think about yourself. It’s sad, it’s terrifying. My thoughts and condolences go out to those three, the families and friends that lost them in that accident,” Baz added.
Julia Hawkins said she was best friends with the oldest victim, Jermaine Brown.
“I’ve been crying all day. I don’t even know what to do, to be honest with you,” Hawkins said Monday. “Now I’m going to have to spend every day without him.”
Much remains unknown, but those grieving their friends say there is one indisputable fact:
“I know it’s messed up, man,” Parker said. “They don’t deserve to be gone right now.”
2014 DEADLY CRASH
This is the second deadly vehicle-train crash to happen in that area within five years.
In November 2014, 19-year-old Justin Mastin, his girlfriend Ashley Melson and their friend Joshua Cartwright were killed Mastin’s van pulled in front of an Amtrak train.
In that case, witnesses said the van passed several vehicles and drove around the railroad crossing gate arms, right into the path of the train.