Woman dies in train wreck
A Newton woman was killed Sunday afternoon (January 18, 2004) when her vehicle collided with a train east of Halstead.  Marsha Thompson, 35, was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck.  The accident happened about 2:15 p.m. at the railroad intersection with Essex Heights, one mile east of Halstead and one-half mile south of Southwest 24th.  Harvey County Sheriff Byron Motter said Thompson was driving a 1995 Ford mini-van north on Essex Heights. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe train, which included three engines and no other cars, was traveling west about 70 mph.  There were no signs of Thompson attempting to stop at the intersection, which does not have flashing lights or gates. The so-called unprotected intersection does have wooden crossbucks. Sheriff’s officials said the intersection is clear of trees and other vegetation.  Motter said it has been at least 30 years since there was a wreck at that intersection.  After the impact, the vehicle was dragged about one-half mile on the tracks.  None of the train’s three-man crew was hurt in the wreck.  Sheriff’s officials said the engine’s lights, bells and horn were working. The train was on its way to Hutchinson to pick up cars before returning to Newton.  BNSF officials responded to the scene of the accident. The van was removed by a Halstead wrecker service about three hours after the accident.  (By Chris Strunk for The Newton Kansan, Newton Kansas. January 19, 2004).

Marsha Thompson, 35, died Sunday (Jan. 18, 2004) in rural Halstead.  She was born Jan. 23, 1968, in Dallas. She married Dusty Thompson Dec. 19, 2003, in Newton. He survives of Newton.  She worked for Graber’s Hardware as a bookkeeper and accountant. She was a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the Harvey County Safe House for battered and abused women. She served as the residential manager for the Harvey County Safe House until December 2003. She was a dedicated child advocate. She helped with tutoring those in need and enjoyed friends and family.  Visitation will be from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 22) and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday (Jan. 23), all at Petersen Funeral Home.  Funeral service will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Petersen Funeral Home Chapel with Minister Buddy Aldridge of Columbus Avenue Church of Christ officiating.  Memorials have been established with Kansas Heart Hospital in care of the funeral home. (Petersen Family Funeral Home, Newton Kansas. January 21, 2004).

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