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BNSF employees killed in collision

Freight train struck their van at crossing

LONGVIEW, Wash. – A veteran Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotive engineer, a conductor trainee and the shuttle driver giving them a ride were killed when their van was struck by a freight train at a BNSF rail yard near Longview.

Another railroad employee remained in critical condition Thursday at a Portland hospital.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said investigators were looking for a cause of the Wednesday afternoon accident.

The dead are 58-year-old engineer Tom Kenny, a 22-year BNSF veteran based in Seattle; and 28-year-old Christopher Loehr, a conductor trainee since January, also based in Seattle, Melonas said.

Kelso police Chief Sandy Hamilton identified the van driver who was killed as 60-year-old Steven Sebastian, of Castle Rock, Wash.

Hamilton said the third railway employee, 52-year-old Dwight Leonard Hauck, of Auburn, Wash., is in critical condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital in Portland.

The van was crossing the tracks when it was struck by the freight train, which had three locomotives and was carrying 106 carloads of grain, Melonas said.

The private crossing has no lighted signals but is equipped with crossing signs and stop signs.

There were no reported injuries on the train, which did not derail.

The train was from Crookston, Minn., and was headed to Seattle.

The vehicle landed at the bottom of a 25-foot embankment, more than 50 feet from the rail intersection.


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