DALBEY — Two people have died after being hit by a train overnight on Wednesday, as authorities continue to investigate what they were doing in a vehicle stopped on a rail crossing in a remote area of Atchison County.
Sheriff Jack Laurie said that his office’s deputies responded to the area of the intersection of 244th and River Road, near Dalbey, in Walnut Township. Laurie said a train struck a 2015 Hyundai Elantra immediately before his office’s response time of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
Deputies located Jeremy W. McAfee, 34, of Savannah, Missouri, outside of the vehicle. Inside the vehicle, deputies found Allison L. Richardson, 38, of Platte City, Missouri. Laurie said that Richardson had been a passenger. Atchison County EMS transported McAfee to Atchison Hospital, where he later died of his injuries. First responders pronounced Richardson dead at the scene.
Laurie said it is believed that the train, traveling at approximately 45 mph prior to the crash, struck the stopped car on the tracks.
“We do not know or have any particular reason to believe that it will become known, but we are continuing to investigate,” Laurie said, of the circumstances which caused the Elantra to be stopped on the tracks.
The settlement of Dalbey has been effectively abandoned for decades, and only a small handful of houses are located within a mile of the crossing. The closest resident, Greg Wilburn, said the rail crossing at 244th Road is fairly active, and two trains passed during the hour reporters interviewed him at the scene.
“I was shocked; nothing like that happens here,” said Wilburn, who was away from home at the time of the collision, adding he can only speculate as to why the car had been on the crossing at that time of night.
“At 244th Road? Yeah. That seems a little fishy. It’s a new model car, what is it doing out here?”
The car seems to have had nowhere to go, before it stopped on the tracks. The crossing leads only to a Missouri River levee and marsh area regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the Corps prohibits routine access onto the levee via a large gate, which blocks traffic immediately beyond the crossing.
Richardson’s family announced on Friday that they are scrambling for resources to properly lay her to rest. Richardson also was mother to two children who are in need of aid following her tragic death, the family said. About $4,000 of a $30,000 goal had been raised by Friday night; further information is available via https://www.gofundme.com/f/allison-richardson-paladino-funeral-expenses
An obituary for McAfee, who has ties to Atchison, has been published on Page A5 of Atchison Globe.
In addition to EMS, the Atchison County Rescue Service and the Union Pacific Police Department — a law enforcement agency with national jurisdiction, which investigates incidents on the railroad — assisted at the scene.