Train-van collision
Three Walkerton siblings were injured when the minivan they were in was struck by a train in Starke County in July 2017. The siblings have filed a lawsuit against the county highway department, the railroad and INDOT.

KNOX – Three Walkerton siblings involved in a collision with a train nearly two years ago in Starke County are suing the county’s highway department, the train company and the Indiana Department of Transportation for their alleged negligence. 

Princess L. Robinson, Richard C. Robinson and Billie J. Beem filed the lawsuit in Starke Circuit Court in mid-April against the highway department, INDOT and the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad.

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department said Princess Robinson, then-43, was driving a minivan northbound on C.R. 1100 E., south of U.S. 30, just after 3 p.m. on July 6, when the train struck her vehicle.

When deputies arrived, they found the minivan on the north side of the tracks in a deep ditch. 

Princess Robinson was outside of the vehicle walking around, Beem, then-45 and a passenger in the minivan, was ejected and laying near the railroad tracks and Richard Robinson, then-51, also a passenger in the vehicle, was trapped inside, the sheriff’s department said not long after the crash.

Both Beem and Richard Robinson were airlifted from the scene to Memorial Hospital in South Bend. Princess Robinson was treated and released at I.U. Starke Hospital.

The sheriff’s department said Princess Robinson failed to yield to the westbound train.

According to the siblings’ lawsuit, the county highway department is negligent because it failed to “control vegetation growth, allowing vegetation to obstruct the view of motor vehicle drivers approaching the railroad crossing.”

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer smcgrath@thepilotnews.com 574-936-3101 ext. 109

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