Train-loving toddler, 3, killed by freight train after he and his two-year-old sister sneaked away from home and went to the railroad tracks
- Caleb Wilson was killed on impact when he was hit by the train around 9.30am
- His sister Ellie was also hit and hospitalized in critical condition with head trauma
- Family members said Caleb adored trains and that Ellie followed him everywhere
- They left house through a hole in screen door and went to track just feet away
An Indiana family has been left devastated after their three-year-old son and his two-year-old sister were hit by a freight train after sneaking out of their home.
Caleb Wilson was killed on impact when he was struck by the train around 9.30am on Tuesday. His sister Ellie was hospitalized in critical condition.
The children’s parents have been identified as Kelsey Benson and Jacob Wilson.
Family members said Caleb adored trains and that Ellie adored her big brother and would follow him anywhere he would go.
Caleb Wilson, three, was killed on impact when he was struck by a freight train in Portage, Indiana on Tuesday. His sister Ellie, two, was also hit and hospitalized in critical condition
The children were hit by a CSX railroad train (pictured) on the track, which was just four houses down their mobile home
‘Caleb is a train person,’ Denise Benson, the children’s step-grandmother, told the Times of Northwest Indiana. ‘And, of course, little Ellie follows Caleb everywhere.’
Relatives believe that the two children managed to sneak out of their mobile home in Portage by crawling through a hole in the screen door.
They somehow managed to get around a children’s gate that was loosely covering the hole and then headed to the CSX railroad tracks just four houses down.
The only thing separating the mobile home park from the tracks is a steep embankment that is filled with weeds.
Family members said Caleb adored trains and that Ellie adored her big brother and followed him everywhere
Relatives believe that the two children managed to sneak out of their mobile home by crawling through a hole in the screen door (pictured)
The children’s grandfather, Byron Benson said he was dumbfounded that the children managed to get out of the home (pictured) while three adults were present
‘It’s dumbfounding to me how they even got out,’ the children’s grandfather, Byron Benson, told WGNTV.
‘With three grown adults, not on drugs, not drinking state of mind. Kelsey’s a good mom, she has been from day one.’
Benson said that when his daughter returned from checking the laundry she realized her children had vanished.
‘She came back and said, “Dad, the kids are gone”‘, he recalled. ‘I got on my shoes. I went one way, my brother went the other way, she went another way.’
Benson said none of the adults, who live at the Woodland Village Mobile Home Park, checked the train tracks first because the children had never played there.
The conductor spotted the children on the tracks around 9.30am and blew the horn, hoping to get their attention as he attempted to slow the eastbound train.
The only thing separating the mobile home park from the tracks is a steep embankment (pictured) that is filled with weeds
The conductor spotted the children on the tracks (pictured) around 9.30 and blew the horn, hoping to get their attention as he attempted to slow the eastbound train
But he was unable to avoid hitting the toddlers.
‘At three and two, kids don’t understand how powerful a train can be,’ Benson said. ‘Even if you’re walking by, you can get sucked under.’
Caleb died on impact while Ellie was found actively crying at the scene. She was airlifted to Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago with head trauma.
Destiny Lewis, the children’s aunt, said Ellie was awake and talking by Tuesday night.
The Porter County Coroner’s Office will conduct Caleb’s autopsy on Wednesday.
But the conductor was unable to stop the train (pictured) in time and could not avoid hitting the toddlers
An investigation is currently being conducted by the Portage Police Department, Indiana State Police, Burns Harbor Police, Ogden Dunes Police and CSX Railroad Police.
Portage Police Chief Troy Williams released a statement praising the emergency responders who arrived at the horrific scene.
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‘This tragedy undeniably affected the first responders as several were visibly shaken by what occurred but worked through those emotions to provide every possible resource and effort throughout the entire incident,’ he said.
Williams will send the findings of the investigation to the state attorney’s office once it has been completed.
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