October 21, 2014

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Ravenna teen driver killed after train hits SUV

RAVENNA, Ohio — A train struck an SUV driven by a 15-year-old girl who recently received her learner’s permit, killing the teen and injuring her four sisters and father near their northeast Ohio home, Portage County authorities said.

No lights, gates or special signals mark the crossing where the southbound train struck the SUV on Sunday evening in Ravenna, roughly 35 miles southeast of Cleveland.

The teenager, who died at the scene, had recently received her learner’s permit to begin driving, and officials from the Portage County sheriff’s office said they think she panicked as the train approached.

Her 41-year-old father and her sisters were taken to hospitals. Authorities didn’t release information about their conditions or about the extent of their injuries. The man’s injuries appeared minor, according to The Record-Courier, which employs him as a newspaper carrier.

The younger sisters are ages 9, 10, 12 and 13, according to the sheriff’s office, which said it is not releasing the names of the driver or her family members.

The teen had been driving on the street where her family lives. Neighbors told the newspaper that trains frequently pass the crossing and use loud horns to alert nearby drivers. It wasn’t clear whether that happened before the Sunday collision.

An autopsy was planned Monday, a coroner’s investigator told The Record-Courier. Calls to the coroner were not answered.