Two Sisters Killed When Train Collides With SUV In Nowata County

Monday, September 30th 2013, 5:47 pm
By: News On 6

News On 6 has learned that two young Nowata girls are dead after a train struck a sport utility vehicle near the town of Watova in Nowata County.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says Hailey Marie Benham, 9, and her 6-year-old sister Hannah were pronounced dead at the scene.

Their mother, 28-year-old Natalie Benham, was flown by medical helicopter to a Tulsa hospital where she is said to be stable with leg and internal injuries.

The collision happened where County Road 280 crosses the railroad tracks just to the east of Highway 169 on Monday afternoon.

Troopers said the collision took place at 3:15 p.m. when the SUV failed to yield to a two-car Union Pacific train.  The train's conductor, Corey Varnold, 30, of Carl Junction, Missouri and engineer Matthew Jones, 53, of Parsons, Kansas were not injured.

The girls are elementary school students at Oologah-Talala Schools where their mother works.

Seatbelts were in use by all in the SUV, according to a trooper's report.