PANA, Ill. (AP) — Residents of a central Illinois city are mourning after five elderly residents were killed when a freight train struck their minivan.
The accident happened Wednesday evening as they drove home to Pana after an ice cream social in a nearby town.
Christian County sheriff’s deputy Tyler Castle responded to the crash and discovered the victims included his grandparents, John and Mary Castle. Both were 89.
The local sheriff says the deputy was pulled from the scene and is on leave while he grieves.
Also killed were 87-year-old Mary Pugsley, 79-year-old Herbert Castle and 77-year-old Nell Castle.
The local coroner says Pugsley was Mary Castle’s sister-in-law, and Herbert and John Castle were brothers.
Friends say the families often did social activities together.
Illinois State Police officials are investigating.