News

Three children die in car-train crash

Community grieves after rail accident; memorial fund set up to assist with expenses

Rockdale firefighters, EMS treat injured at scene of triple-fatality train-car accident three miles east of Rockdale Tuesday. Reporter/Mike Brown Rockdale firefighters, EMS treat injured at scene of triple-fatality train-car accident three miles east of Rockdale Tuesday. Reporter/Mike Brown Two Rockdale Elementary School second graders died Monday afternoon after the car in which they were riding was hit by a train east of Rockdale.

A four-year-old child, part of the same family, died Tuesday evening at Temple’s Scott & White Hospital. The car’s driver, a 40-year-old Rockdale woman, remains at Scott & White.

Monterious Hancox, 9, was pronounced dead at the scene, a private driveway over the Union Pacific tracks, just after the 3:58 p.m. collision.

Ahkeem Williams, 8, died at Dell Children’s Hospital, Austin, about 6:30 p.m.

Keeyati Hancox, 4, died Tuesday evening. Driver Terrilyn Williams was reported in improving condition Tuesday by a family friend.

Williams was guardian to Ahkeem Williams, a nephew. She was providing foster care to the Hancox boys who were also family members.

Williams Williams Crash State Trooper Erik Gaston said the 2006 Dodge Charger had exited a gate on the private driveway, about two miles east of Rockdale and was headed to US 79 across the Union Pacific tracks.

The private road crossing does not have signal lights or cross-arms.

As the Dodge crossed the tracks it was struck on the driver’s side rear quarter panel by the eastbound freight, Gaston said.

Gaston’s report, as of Tuesday, did not list names of the train crew.

The collision apparently ejected the three children. Gaston said Williams was buckled in but the children did not appear to have been restrained.

Rockdale volunteer firefighters and sev- eral AMR ambulances responded. Milano volunteers were called in to direct traffic.

Choppers, second crash

M. Hancox M. Hancox Three medical helicopters were summoned. One landed in the KC Hall parking lot, one on the Richards Memorial Hospital helipad and the third at Meadowbrook Baptist Church, across Meadow Drive from the hospital.

While an AMR ambulance was speeding toward RMH, it was involved in a vehicle crash at US 79 and San Gabriel at 4:40 p.m.

Officers Stephen Goodrich and Clayton Bekker of the Rockdale Police Department said a car operated by Sarah Hardway, 47, of Rockdale, pulled onto the highway and was struck by the ambulance, being driven by Amanda Harris, 24, of Austin.

The ambulance was disabled and the patient from the car-train crash was transferred into another ambulance in the parking lot of Magic Wand Carwash.

Hardway and a passenger, 52-year-old Nathaniel Harper of Rockdale, were treated at Richards Memorial Hospital.

At that point, with so many ambulances either in use or disabled, Rockdale VFD Fire Command summoned a Thorndale ambulance to Rockdale to stand by, if needed.

Train-car collision victim was transferred from one AMR ambulance to another at Magic Wand Carwash after ambulance rushing to hospital was involved in accident at US 79-San Gabriel corner. Train-car collision victim was transferred from one AMR ambulance to another at Magic Wand Carwash after ambulance rushing to hospital was involved in accident at US 79-San Gabriel corner. ‘Lots of hugging’

It was a sad scene at Rockdale Elementary School throughout the day Tuesday.

“There’s lots of talking and hugging and making of cards and mementos,” Principal Robin Faulkner said.

Counselor-minister Rev. Luther Shelander was brought to the campus to assist students and staff.

The second grade’s American History program, scheduled for Thursday at the school, has been cancelled.

Teacher Janice Keen said both boys had parts in the program.

“We are heart broken,” she said. “Monterious and Ahkeem had touched all of our hearts so much this year. They were both also a big part of our program.”

State Trooper Erik Gaston talks with members of Union Pacific train crew at accident scene. State Trooper Erik Gaston talks with members of Union Pacific train crew at accident scene. “Our hearts are just too heavy to think about anything other than this loss and taking care of our students through this tragedy,” she said.

Friends of the family have established a Williams Memorial Fund at Citizens National Bank.

Funeral services for the boys are pending at Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home.


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The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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