Coloma teen dies in car vs. train crash
Zachariah Zellmer, 19, died Tuesday night (Sept. 13, 2011) after his car collided with an Amtrak train at 52nd Avenue in Van Buren County's Hartford Township. (WSBT Photo Courtesy of MARK PARREN / September 13, 2011)
Zachariah Zellmer, 19, died at the scene after his car became wedged under the front of the train’s lead locomotive.
Police said Zellmer had just turned east onto 52nd Avenue from C.R. 687, when he drove around the track’s lowered crossing arms and into the path of the oncoming train.
The Amtrak was traveling 65 mph when its crew saw Zellmer’s car and activated the train’s emergency brake. The train couldn’t avoid hitting Zellmer’s car and pushing it a considerable distance, police said.
The train did have working bells, lights and whistles and the crossing’s lights and control arms were operating at the time of the crash.
None of the train’s 72 passengers nor crew were injured.