At Least 4 Deaths in Train-Van Crash at Rural Alabama Crossing

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THORSBY, Ala. (AP) - At least four men headed to construction jobs in Birmingham and Montgomery were killed and four others were injured Thursday morning when their van collided with a freight train at a rural Alabama crossing in Chilton County.

Jesus Clavido said his 19-year-old son, Miguel, was among those killed. He tells The Associated Press the van passengers were all from Mexico and working construction jobs.

State Trooper Donald Frazier says the collision occurred about 5:40 a.m. (CST), when it was still dark. The crossing near Thorsby was marked only by a sign that is faded, with one arm of its "X" gone. Frazier says right now officers don't know exactly what happened.

The injured were taken by helicopter and ambulances to a Birmingham hospital. Their conditions are not yet available.

The white van rolled several times before landing in a ditch beside the train track.

A local minister, the Reverend Antonio Inestroza comforted relatives of the victims at the scene. Some were in tears.

The minister says the group was going to work, that's what they do every morning.

They left in the dark each morning, he says, because they were going to construction job sites in Birmingham and Montgomery.

CSX spokesman Gary Sease in Jacksonville, Florida, said the train, with two locomotives and 38 cars, many loaded with automobiles, was headed to Louisville, Kentucky, from Baldwin, Florida.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)