PLAINVIEW, Ill. — One man is dead after a tragic crash in rural Macoupin County between a train and an SUV. People tried to rescue the SUV driver but couldn`t get him out of the SUV before the train hit it. A 911 call reveals the intensity of the situation.
It all unfolded about 4:45pm on Thursday on train tracks in the rural Macoupin County, Illlinois community of Plainview.
Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl says the SUV driver, Ronald Vallery, 67, of Plainview, was pronounced dead at the scene. He says Vallery lost control of his SUV leading to the incident.
"Ran off the road, came back on. You can see his skid marks. He started coming back across. Then what we gathered is he started rolling right in here, rolled several times, ran over the top of that stop sign and then landed in the grass," said Kahl talking about the crash in the moments before the train collision.
Eventually, the SUV became stuck right side up on the train tracks. Kahl says several people tried to get Vallery out of the SUV before the train hit it. Brandon Haley was one of them.
"The car was still running. All the tires were spinning in the air, smoking," said Brandon talking about the scene.
Brandon says he was the first on the scene with more people arriving moments later. Brandon tells us Vallery was unconscious and the driver's side door couldn`t be opened. He says another man got the passenger door open. Then Brandon and that other man tried to pull Vallery out as the train got closer.
"We both pulled on him but he was pinned in the vehicle from the rollover. We gave him one last pull and we just couldn't get him out and it was time for us to get out of there. It was too late," said Brandon.
The 911 dispatcher tried to get the train stopped but Sheriff Kahl says there simply wasn't enough time. Vallery was thrown from the SUV after the impact. The firefighter who made the 911 call found him moments later. Brandon is still shaken by the entire episode.
"I wish I could have done more," said Brandon. He added, "You do what you can to help out."
The Sheriff says Vallery was the only person in the SUV and he was likely speeding when he lost control. Vallery`s SUV hit a truck after the train collision but nobody was in the truck and there were no other injuries. Haley says there was less than five minutes between when he got there and when the train hit the SUV.
You can listen to the tragic 911 call here: