Train slams into car, kills 2 people

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Two people are dead after a train collides with a car in Richland Parish. It happened near Highway 80 and Bee Bayou Road Thursday night.

Louisiana State Police confirmed Friday the driver was 48-year-old Shonda Hayes and the passenger was 38-year-old Gary Briggs.

Sheriff Gary Gilley says a train was approaching the intersection when Hayes tried to cross the railroad track. Gilley says a driver behind the car honked his horn to get the driver's attention and stop the vehicle, but their attempts went unheard. The train struck the car killing both Hayes and Briggs.

"The car pulled up on the track while they were blowing the horn. Apparently they didn't hear it. The train then struck the car and it came to rest behind me back there," said Sheriff Gary Gilley.

The intersection the couple tried to cross doesn't have railroad arms. Sheriff Gilley says there are several other points around the parish that resemble this same crossing.

Family and friends were visibly upset after seeing the scene for themselves.

"You have to be very careful. We have a lot of crossings with arms on them and some like this one here with no arms on them. So you have to be very careful when you come on these intersections like this. You need to stop look and listen," said Gilley.

The Sheriff says it's been a long time since the last train crash related death. He's now asking for the community to come together and pray for this grieving family.

"We haven't had one here in quite a while, and it's very unfortunate this happened today," said Gilley. "My condolences to the family. I'm very sorry. They're all local family here in Rayville and my heart goes out to them."