By Eric Stock
NOKOMIS – Illinois State Police say five people have died after their van was hit by a freight train last night.
WAND-TV reports the crash happened on a stretch of railroad track near Nokomis at Illinois Route 16. Police say they believe the driver, a 79-year-old man from Pana, was driving south on a county road and drove over a railroad crossing where it was hit by the oncoming train at 6:49 p.m.
Three people in the car were pronounced dead at the scene.
WAND said two others were flown to St. Louis area hospitals, where they later died. Police identified the victims as Herbert Castle, 79; Mary Pugsley, 87; John Castle, 89; Nell Castle, 77; Mary Castle, 89. All were from Pana.
Eric Stock can be reached at [email protected].