Freight train collides with van, kills 3 in Wash.

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 11:04 PM

LONGVIEW, Wash. -- A Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad spokesman says a freight train has struck a shuttle van carrying BNSF crew members in Washington state, killing three people and seriously injuring a fourth.

Spokesman Gus Melonas says the collision happened late Wednesday afternoon at a private rail crossing in the Longview, Wash., area as the van was leaving a BNSF railyard to take the crew members to Vancouver.

Killed were the contract van driver and two crew members. Melonas says a fourth person, also a crew member, was hospitalized.

The loaded grain train was bound from Crookston, Minn., to Seattle. It did not derail.

Railway officials and local authorities are investigating. Melonas said he did not immediately have identification on the victims.

© 2011 The Associated Press