State investigating why train came through crash scene

By Marc A. Hinojosa -
Aug. 1, 2009 at 3:01 a.m.

LOLITA - The state is investigating why a train came through a fatal crash scene on July 24 after officials had requested the traffic be stopped.

Department of Safety Trooper Jeannie Slovacek, who was investigating the one-vehicle fatality, had asked that all train traffic be stopped because the vehicle and victim were on the tracks. She said she made the request upon arriving at the scene.

But about 4 a.m., the train came through the area near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 616 and FM 1593 in Jackson County, the trooper and Justice of the Peace Bobby Doelitsch said.

As the train came through, officials and emergency person scattered for safety.

Doelitsch said the train engineer sounded his horn as the train approached.

The Texas Department of Transportation is investigating the incident because the agency has jurisdiction over railroad tracks.

The fatal rollover occurred about 2:15 a.m. when Roland Rene Canchola, 29, of Victoria, failed to stop at the intersection of the farm roads near Lolita, causing his vehicle to strike a ditch. He was ejected from the 2005 Nissan Exterra, according to published reports.

Both Canchola and the Exterra came to rest on the tracks.

Doelitsch pronounced Canchola dead at the scene at 3:24 a.m.

Floyd Villarreal Valdez Jr., 23, of Bloomington, a passenger in Canchola's SUV, was transported to Citizens Medical Center in Victoria for treatment of his injuries.

He remained in stable condition in a private room at Citizens on Saturday, a hospital spokesman said.

An investigator for the railroad referred questions to the Texas Department of Transportation.

TxDOT Public Information Officer Chris Lippincott said additional information will be released this week following completion of the investigation.

A private investigator representing the family was also at the scene, but refused comment.



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