Falling asleep at wheel causes crash


PREBLE COUNTY — Falling asleep at the wheel landed a Kentucky mother and her children in the path of a train early last week.

The Preble County Sheriff’s Office investigated the personal injury crash Tuesday morning, on US 127, south of Brower Road. According to Sheriff Mike Simpson, the PCSO received a call from Norfolk & Southern Railroad at approximately 4:48 a.m. advising a train had struck a car that was on the tracks.

The preliminary investigation determined a 2002 Toyota Rav 4 was traveling northbound on US 127 when the driver fell asleep. The vehicle traveled off the right side of the roadway, into the ditch and then up an embankment and onto the railroad track, where the vehicle became lodged on the rail. As the driver attempted to free the vehicle, it was struck by a northbound Norfolk & Southern train. The impact knocked the vehicle from the track, Simpson said.

The driver, Melinda Noel, 23, of Winchester, Kentucky, and her two 21-month-old twins were in the vehicle. Both infants were in child safety seats. All three suffered non-life threatening injuries, Simpson said.

Noel was transported to Miami Valley Hospital and the children were transported to Children’s Hospital in Dayton.

The crash remained under investigation by the PCSO and Norfolk & Southern Railroad Police at press time. Gasper Twp. Fire & EMS and Camden Fire & EMS responded to the scene.

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