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A Bible school van crashed into a train Tuesday night in Middletown, Ohio, killing a woman, seriously injuring a second adult and sending all eight children on board to hospitals, authorities said.
State Highway Patrol Lt. Clint Arnold said the van was moving very slowly — only 2 mph — when it ran through multiple warning signals, which probably saved lives.
"The van traveled through a down rail gate," Arnold said late Tuesday night. "The lights were flashing. The gate was down."
All of the van's occupants were taken to area hospitals. One, an adult woman passenger, died of her injuries, authorities told NBC News. The driver — the only other adult on board — was seriously injured.
Police told NBC station WDTN of Dayton that the children suffered only minor injuries.
"I just spoke to one of the troopers who saw them all off-loaded," Arnold of the state patrol said Tuesday night. "He said all of them were, I guess, loud, so that's a good thing."
Arnold said that investigators hadn't yet determined why the driver ignored the flashing warning signals but that they suspect she was distracted, noting that she was driving a van full of young children, possibly into direct sunlight.
"It wasn't like she was trying to drive around the gate. It wasn't like the gate was collapsing," he said. "The gate was completely down, and the van went through the gate."
The van belonged to the Church at Mayfield, a member of the church told the Middletown Journal-News. It was picking up its last load of children for the church's summer vacation Bible school, the newspaper reported.