Thursday, September 2, 2004

Kids survive wreck, but parents killed


Car struck by train in Grant County

By Jim Hannah
Enquirer staff writer

Timmy Whalen (center) is helped by a relative away from the wreckage of a car in which his son, Timothy "Andy" Whalen, 21, was killed when it was struck by a train.
(Patrick Reddy/The Enquirer)

DRY RIDGE - Two Northern Kentuckians were killed and their children hospitalized Wednesday after the car they were in was struck by a train.

Timothy "Andy" Whalen and Amy Crabtree, both 21 and of Dry Ridge, were pronounced dead at the scene of the 1:14 p.m. accident, about three miles north of Dry Ridge on Dixie Highway (U.S. 25), by Grant County Coroner Mary Lee Willoby.

A northbound Norfolk Southern Corp. train pushed their 1995 Dodge Neon about 200 feet from a private driveway that crosses the tracks. The train was carrying trailers from semi-trucks.

Whalen was driving, and Crabtree was a passenger in the front seat.

There were no gates or signals at the driveway between Hyde and Sherman Newton roads. Troopers were still investigating why the car was on the tracks.

The couple were apparently shopping for tires at area junkyards when the train hit their car.

Crabtree's mother, Angie Wilson, said the couple was engaged.

Wilson said she is worried about the two children, Sierra N. Whalen, 3, and Emilee P. Whalen, 4 months. Wilson said Emilee was born prematurely and diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

The children, who were both in the back seat, were flown by helicopter to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Police said they suffered only minor injuries. The children were in good condition late Wednesday.

"My daughter decided to relocate to Northern Kentucky after Emilee was born," Wilson said. "She wanted to be close to the doctors."

Wilson, 38, of Strunk in southern Kentucky near the Tennessee line, said she was making lunch when a state trooper appeared on her doorstep to say her daughter had been killed in Northern Kentucky.

She said her daughter graduated from McCreary Central High School in 2000 and had taken some business classes at a community college in Somerset but didn't work because she had to take care of the children.

Wilson said she was going to make the four-hour drive to the hospital Wednesday evening.

"I need to be close to the children," she said. "I don't know what is going to happen."

E-mail jhannah@enquirer.com



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