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20-year-old woman, her 4-month-old son killed in train-car crash in Polk County

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Posted at 5:00 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 23:40:54-04

FROSTPROOF, Fla. — A 20-year-old woman and her 4-month-old son died Thursday afternoon after being struck by an Amtrak train, The Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

The sheriff's office said the crash happened around 3:17 p.m. on South Scenic Highway between Livingston Lake Road and US 98.

The driver of the car, the boy's aunt and the sister of the 20-year-old, did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Deputies said they found the 20-year-old woman dead on the scene. They said the 4-month-old boy had significant injuries and was transported to Florida Hospital Heartland, but later died from his injuries.

The driver of the car had an injury to her leg and was taken to a local hospital.

There were no injuries to anyone on the Amtrak train, deputies said.

Amtrak officials released a statement on the crash:

"Service on an Amtrak train has been suspended after it came into contact with a vehicle on the track. There are no reported injuries to passengers or crew members. An investigation into the incident is underway."

According to preliminary information, the Kia, the car the family members were in, drove around the crossing arms on the track, and before the car was able to clear the tracks, the train struck the passenger side.

Evidence and witnesses say as the train approached the road, the warning lights and the crossing arms were operational and were in the down position.

The impact of the crash split the car in half and propelled the backseat about 50 feet. The child and his mother had been seated in the back portion of the car, deputies said.

Deputies also said despite a child safety seat being found, the initial investigation indicates that none of the passengers in the car were properly restrained.

The Florida Department of Transportation assisted with traffic while Scenic Highway was closed for about four hours.

The crash remains under investigation.