Kentuckian Dies Following "Violent" Indiana Train-Semi-Truck Crash

Terre Haute, Ind. - A 35-year old Rockcastle County, Kentucky man driving a semi-truck died following a violent crash with a train north of Terre Haute; a collision said to be so severe that debris was scattered "for a half mile."

According to WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, the collision happened about 10:30 Friday morning. The semi, driven by Jeff Pennington, reportedly was headed to make a pickup from the White Construction Company. Pennington was traveling east over the tracks when the train slammed into the cab of his truck. Reportedly, the cab burst into flames upon impact.

Christopher MaClaren of the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department
told the television station, "I don't know if it would be considered a dangerous crossing but it's one that requires attention due to the fact that it does not have flashing lights or crossing arms."

Emegency units were dispatched to the scene. A lifeline helicopter that was to transport injured was unable to take off, according to the report. Pennington was taken by ambulance to West Central Hospital in Indianapolis where he later died of his injuries.


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  • by Shelby Location: helton on Nov 16, 2007 at 02:52 PM
    My best friend that was her dad.It is really sad.My whole family cared about. We feel like they are apart of the family.
  • by Leslie Pennington Location: Mt.sterling,ky on Oct 4, 2007 at 07:05 PM
    Jeff was my dad and it was very devastating and shocking when i heard about this tradgic accident there should of been more than just a stupid stop sighn and that train shouldnt of been going that fast.And robert it was not my dads fault it was the ignert idiots who own the land who didnt want to save a life, their has been 3 accidents and that is just plain Ridiculous and enough.
  • by Pamela Location: Mt. Sterling, KY on Sep 29, 2007 at 06:55 AM
    Oh, and Robert, I almost forgot one more thing concerning if you or one of your family members are ever involved in any type of accident. I want you to remember that in your opinion, no amount of money would be worth spending by any government department or agency for the any accident reconstruction expertise, traffic devices not limited to signage, signals, crosswalks, guard rails, crossing arms, etc. that could have helped to avoid the accident or could help to avoid other accidents because it's just simply too expensive. It would be to easy to avoid by just paying attention.
  • by Pamela Location: Mt. Sterling, KY on Sep 29, 2007 at 06:31 AM
    Robert, as the ex-wife and mother of Jeff's child I feel compelled to comment on your arrogant, uneducated expertise. Jeff was a very experienced driver. Maybe you're tractor trailer driver yourself, but regardless of your perfect self and driving abilities here are the facts. Jeff stopped at the stop sign, there were no warning lights, the train DID NOT blow it's horn, it was traveling 60 mph, that's half a mile in 30 seconds, quarter mile in 15 seconds, visibility at stop sign half mile or less, distance from the stop sign for the rig to FULLY get across tracks appx. 70 ft., appx. 3-4 mph for rig to take off from stop sign and cross tracks, confusing entrances/exits with parallel road across tracks. Was it timing, mechanical problems, heart attack, stroke,we may never know, but we DO KNOW if ever you are in an accident regardless of fault, your words will haunt you, you should have STOPPED, LOOKED, AND LISTENED and you could have avoided it all, then hope you say a prayer for Jeff.
  • by Robert Gift Location: Denver, CO USA on Sep 10, 2007 at 09:32 AM
    Wow, you make a good point, Tami. But are these collisions simply because drivers are being careless and in a hurry? I have never encountered a RXR crossing where I could not slow or stop and see if a train was approaching. I hate to see $150k spent when one can simply look and see. It is easy not to be hit by a train. Are there railcars parked right up to the grade crossing obscuring view? Thanks
  • by Tami Location: Cincinnati Ohio on Aug 23, 2007 at 01:17 PM
    Robert, there have been 3 train-vechile accidents in that area in 6 days. I think it is an area that definitely needs attention. Talking about expensive lights and gates, Can you put a price on someone's LIFE??
  • by JaDawn Location: Mt.Vernon on Aug 21, 2007 at 02:56 PM
    There is already so many comments made and there are not enough words to describe what kind of person that Jeff was. I am haunted daily with what happened. I am even more haunted by the fact that we may never know. I was married to Jeff for almost eight years and with that came two wonderful children. When I met him, I fell in love with him! I got to see hands on how great of a father he was to his daughter Leslie who was almost two at the time. Jeff was one of my best friends. Even if we were not married we still had a wonderful relationship. For our kids sake we promised that we would always remain the best of friends. I am sure a lot of people who are "out looking in" had and have a lot of comments to make but you know what....It did not matter to us and it still does not. We just sat back and laughed about it. He was a awesome friend and father. MaKayla and Jacob miss his call every morning and night to tell them good morning and good night. We miss you and love you Jeff!
  • by Robert Gift Location: Denver, CO on Aug 20, 2007 at 10:37 PM
    Angel, they don't need expensive flashing lights and even more expensive gates. One need only STOP, LOOK, LISTEN. Think of the X sign as a stop or yield sign. Don't allow distractions to divert your attention at RR crossings.
  • by Geri Location: Goshen,ohio on Aug 15, 2007 at 03:47 AM
    Jeff was one of the nicest people I have ever known, When I first met him he was so quit and such a gentleman. My niece was wife at that time and they had 2 beautiful chidren together. He had another little girl named Leslie and such a sweet heart she is. We will miss Jeff so much but now God holds him in his arms like he does my step father who died 30 day before this terrible event.Dad loved Jeff and enjoyed his time they shared. Now their in heven together. Please keep this family in your prayers they are all so sweet.
  • by Pamela Location: Mt. Sterling, KY on Aug 12, 2007 at 07:48 PM
    Jeff Pennington was my ex husband and father to our daughter, Leslie, 11 yrs old. Jeff loved life and always had a smile on his face. He was such a positive person in looking at the brighter side of any situation. He never met a stranger, had no enemies, and was always ready to shake anyone's hand. Jeff, we miss you terribly and Leslie and I love you so much. It hurts Leslie to know she can't hold you anymore and look into your big beautiful blue eyes, or hear that little giggle you always made when you laughed, and to hear your upbeat reassuring voice to guide her in life and let her know everything's going to be ok when she's had a bad day. She misses you dearly but is comforted in knowing you are in peace in heaven with Papaw Banks. She knows your spirit will always be with her, watching over her, and she knows you'll never miss a moment in her life. We love you and know you're looking down with that big smile you always wore, giggling at us while we share memories of your life.
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