A Claremore father and daughter are still in serious condition at a Tulsa hospital after a train collided with their minivan. The impact killed Cindy Wilson, her infant son and 10-year old daughter. The family was headed to a relative's house for a surprise Mother's Day barbeque.
News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says it was a split second mistake that cost a mother and two children their lives and left a Claremore family forever changed. Students at Sequoyah Elementary were in shock Monday over the loss of fifth grader Stephanie Smith, known to her friends as Lacey.
School counselor Betsy White: "I just remember Lacey, as a very sweet, happy, bright young lady she had an infectious smile and always seemed very happy and upbeat." Lacey's mother Cindy Wilson and infant brother Kaleb also died at the scene Sunday.
It happened just south of Claremore on state Highway 88 where the tracks cross a county road. Their father was at the wheel. Investigators say they don't believe Donald Wilson was trying to beat the train, but with the lack of lights and safety arm, he just didn't see it coming. 2-year old Victoria was thrown from the van and survived, while Donald was trapped inside the wreckage for half an hour.
The crossing resembles many other rural spots where a simple sign marks the tracks and trains whistle to signal their approach. Investigators say the train was going about 50 miles an hour when it hit the van.
School officials say the family had just moved here from Florida, though they have relatives in the area. A student for only a few weeks, Lacey had good grades and was well-liked School counselor Betsy White: "she had made friends, she was welcomed into her classroom and made friends, several of the students are quite upset that this happened."
Family members were able to speak to Donald Wilson before he went into surgery. He told them he never even saw the train.
Funeral services for his wife and children will be held Thursday. A trust fund was set up at the Bank of Oklahoma for the family.