DAVIS — The name of the Oklahoma Blood Institute employee who died Friday night in a train/van crash continued to be withheld Saturday pending the notification of family members.
“She has family in a lot of different places and states. Her family has requested her name not be released until they have had time to notify everyone,” said Davis Police Chief Danny Cooper, Saturday, in an appeal to media to respect the family’s wishes.
The 52-year-old woman died about 7:50 p.m. at the Benton Street crossing when she pulled the van she was driving around lowered railroad signal bars in an attempt to cross the tracks.
“An Amtrak train had cleared the crossing but was stopped at the downtown crossing for an approaching northbound Heartland Flyer. As the driver pulled the van onto the tracks it was hit by the Heartland Flyer,” Cooper said.
The train continued about 3/4 of a mile, before operators were able to bring the passenger cars to a full stop. The Heartland Flyer makes one round-trip between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas daily, with area stops in Ardmore and Pauls Valley, as well as stops in Purcell and Norman to the north and across the Red River in Gainesville in Texas. The return trip started at 5:25 p.m. in Fort Worth and was expected to reach it’s final destination in Oklahoma City at 9:23 p.m.
Cooper said the driver of the van died at the scene from massive injuries. There were no passengers in the van. No one on the train was injured.
“There was no damage to the tracks. Following some minor repairs that were completed between 10:30 and 11 p.m., the train was cleared to continue northbound and normal train traffic resumed,” Cooper said.
The chief said the preliminary investigation showed the OBI employee had participated in a blood drive in the area and was driving westbound as she returned to the Ardmore office with the blood donations that had been collected.
Davis police were assisted at the scene by the Davis Fire Department, Murray County Sheriff’s Department, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and a state Medical Examiner investigator. In addition, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Amtrak investigators immediately responded to the site. Late Saturday afternoon, Cooper said he expected railroad investigators to meet with his department late Wednesday or Thursday to discuss the results of the inquires.