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Car hit by train in Olathe was parked on tracks, spokesman says

A motorist fatally struck by a train this morning in Olathe was parked on the tracks and didn't attempt to move as the train approached, a railroad spokesman said today.

BNSF spokesman Steve Forsberg said the car was already stopped on the tracks when the crossing gates came down. About 5:50 a.m., the crew of the mile-long freight train blew the horn, but the train couldn't stop in time to prevent the crash, he said. Cameras in the train captured the incident. The car was pushed about three-quarters of a mile before it came to a rest.

Forsberg declined to speculate about the cause, leaving it up to Olathe police to conclude their investigation. Officers were at the scene of the crash on Dennis Avenue as late as noon. But as of 2:30 today, they were not releasing the identity of the victim, who was the lone occupant in the car and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The train was traveling at about 50 mph at the time of the crash. The trains' authorized speed limit in that area is 70 mph, Forsberg said. The train was bound for its intermodal hub in Alliance, Texas, near Fort Worth.

The incident blocked seven intersections just west of Olathe from Dennis Avenue to Poplar Street, including Santa Fe, but the crossings are now open again.

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