Van strikes train in Michigan's Thumb

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

A commercial van unable to slow down in icy road conditions struck a passing train Monday afternoon in Michigan's Thumb area, police said.

Michigan State Police say the crash took place just before 4 p.m. Monday on Brown Road, west of Hess, in Tuscola County's Vassar Township.

A 53-year-old Vassar Township man was driving a full-size commercial van, approaching the train tracks, when he was unable to stop. 

At the same time, a train was passing, headed north.

The van couldn't stop, entered the crossing and hit the train.

The driver told police his vision was obstructed, which is why he couldn't see the train in time. Icy conditions prevented him from coming to a stop.

Both drivers refused medical condition in this van vs. train crash in Michigan's Thumb, police said.

The crossing does not have gates or a lighted signal, state police say. Just a yield sign.

Both the driver of the van and the operator of the train refused medical attention.

Police believe the van driver's speed factored into the crash, but not drugs or alcohol. Police concluded he was the at-fault driver and wrote him a ticket. 

The van was disabled in the crash. The train, owned by Huron and Eastern Railway, suffered minimal damage.

In 2019 there were 53 vehicle-train crashes in Michigan, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.