A train/car crash in the Union Mills area that took the life of a LaPorte man is under investigation by the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department. At around 1:59 a.m. CT, deputies from the La Porte County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to the Canadian National Railroad crossing located on State Road 39 south of U.S. 6 in reference to the reported crash. Upon arrival, deputies located a Dodge Caravan that had been struck by a westbound train. The driver, the only occupant of the vehicle, was found deceased in the van, identified as Brian D. Massengill, 40 of LaPorte. He reportedly died of massive blunt force trauma, and officials have stated his blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.393 percent, which could have played a part in the accident.
The crossing had been closed due to construction at the State Road 39 and U.S. 6 intersection with barricades in place just north of the railroad crossing across both lanes of travel. Investigators determined that the van had been traveling south on State Road 39 and, for reasons unknown, had driven around the two barricades before becoming stuck on the crossing.
Unfortunately for the Massengill, a westbound 121-car Canadian National freight train was barreling down the tracks and struck the trapped van. The two-man train crew told police that the train had been traveling approximately 45 miles per hour when it struck the van, and though they sounded the horn on the train, the van was unable to move.