4-year-old survives train-minivan collision that killed her parents, 3 sisters

Workers from BNSF railway and fire department personnel from Fisher's Peak Fire Department work to clear track following a fatal accident involving a vehicle and this westbound AmTrack train at a crossing located about 3 mi east of Trinidad, Colo., Sunday, June 26, 2016. A Southwest Chief train headed from Chicago to Los Angeles hit a van as it drove across the tracks Sunday a railroad crossing with a history of problems near Trinidad. A 4-year-old girl is the sole survivor of the crash between a minivan and an Amtrak train that killed her parents and three sisters. (Eric John Monson/The Chronicle News via AP)

TRINIDAD, CO (MEDIA GENERAL) — A 4-year-old girl is the sole survivor of a horrific crash Sunday between an Amtrak train and her family’s minivan that claimed the lives of her parents and three sisters.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, the crash happened just after 10 a.m. Sunday outside Trinidad, Colorado, near the New Mexico border. A westbound Amtrak train collided with the family’s 2005 Chrysler Town and Country minivan.

Stephen Miller, 32, his wife, 33-year-old Christine Miller, and the couple’s three daughters, Abigail, 6, Kathryn, 2, and Ellianna, 8 months, were killed in the crash.

The Miller’s 4-year-old daughter Heidi was airlifted to a Denver hospital with serious injuries. She was last listed in stable condition.

“Most of us went out to the scene, waiting to hear for sure if it was them or not. And you know like I said, we were reasonably sure because they weren’t answering their phones and– it was the right–  it hit the vehicle description,” the victim’s cousin Keith Schlabach told KRDO.

In less than 24 hours, a GoFundMe account set up for the family had raised more than $30,000.

The family is asking for funds to help with medical costs and funeral expenses. They are also asking for prayers.

Family members said the family was on their way to church at the time of the crash.

Officials said the Miller’s minivan failed to yield right of way to the train and was hit as it attempted to cross the tracks at a railroad crossing with a history of problems.

According to the Associated Press, the railroad crossing is marked only with signs but a proposal to add flashing lights and gates has been in the works since late 2013.

There have been six other accidents between vehicles and trains at the same crossing in the last 30 years, including one other fatal crash in 2010, according to Federal Railroad Administration records.
The Southwest Chief train was headed to Los Angeles from Chicago.

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