A St. Louis woman was killed yesterday when an Amtrak train struck her pickup truck in Hartford, Illinois. The Illinois train accident occurred at the intersection of Seventh and Olive streets around 7:25 a.m. The accident victim has been identified as 31 year-old Heather Sheree Balven of the 7500 block of Hoover Avenue in St. Louis. Balven was employed as a geotechnical engineer with Terracon Consultants Inc., a subcontracting outfit that was hired to help construct an Alaskan oil pipeline to the area. Eyewitness Robert Preston said that he saw the truck approaching the intersection just before the collision. He reports that he did not hear the train sound a horn until it was at the railroad crossing at which point he saw the truck fly ‘about 75 feet in the air.’ The intersection where the train accident occurred is not equipped with crossing signs or lights.
Balven’s truck came to a halt about 75 yards north of the railroad crossing. Balven was killed on impact according to the Madison County Coroner’s Office. Amtrak reports that none of the 64 passengers or crew members aboard the train suffered injuries. The train was bound from St. Louis to Chicago and was travelling between 50 and 60 mph at the time of the collision. The Hartford Police Department is still investigating the tragic train accident.