PDT Staff Report
HAMILTON, Ohio — A former Portsmouth resident with enduring ties to the area is dead after a train struck her van as it was proceeding through a crossing in St. Clair Township, Ohio.
Sharon Bennett, 55, of Butler County was operating a minivan through a Butler County train crossing Saturday afternoon when a Norfolk Southern train hauling 72 freight cars struck Bennett’s vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Butler County Emergency Management Agency closed area crossings while authorities investigated the incident.
St. Clair Township Fire Chief Terry White told WLWT-TV that area drivers will sometimes ignore the crossing signals.
“A lot of times the trains stop here and they’ll stay stopped anywhere from a half an hour to two hours so (drivers) just try to beat the train,” White said.
The crossing signals were working properly at the time of the accident.
Bennett was born Dec. 27 in Portsmouth to Fred Bennett and Zelma Adkins.