A freight train smashed into a minivan Sunday at a crossing in south central Wisconsin that lacked lights or gates, killing all four people in the vehicle.
Officials say the minivan's driver was apparently trying to cut through a highway construction area to get to Columbus when the vehicle was hit by the train and pushed about a mile down the line. With the victims all dead in the minivan, rescuers covered it with tarps before hauling it away on a flatbed truck.
The Dodge County Sheriff's Department says the four victims -- two women and two men -- are believed to be from southeastern Wisconsin. Their identities are being withheld pending full identification and notification of relatives.
State Railroad Commissioner Rodney Kreunen visited the scene.
He says the minivan apparently went past road closure signs on the highway, turned on a dead-end street trying to get around the construction, crossed the tracks once, then turned around and was coming back to the highway when the train hit it at about 60 miles an hour.
According to the engineer's account, the minivan driver appeared to look down the track, then turned away as if talking to someone else in the vehicle.