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'The community is hurting': Monroe County mourns 3 people killed in train accident

We are still waiting to find out what caused the car to get stuck, and this accident is still under investigation.

FORSYTH, Ga. — The Monroe County community is mourning three people who died in a train accident Wednesday evening.

Commissioner Eddie Rowland says Thursday has been a difficult day for Monroe County.

That's because they lost 3 people that he says made a huge impact on many.

"The community is hurting. This reminds us that there is no promise of tomorrow," Eddie Rowland said.

The three died Wednesday night after a train hit an SUV at a private crossing near Goodwyne and Collier roads.

The victims include 93-year-old Shirley Treadwell and her caregiver, 66-year-old Debra Hall.

They were in the vehicle that got stuck on the Norfolk Southern train tracks.

The third victim was 47-year-old Chris Burkett, who tried to help the two women escape their SUV as the train approached.

All three died. 

Rowland says Burkett died a hero.

"I knew Chris from a tornado that happened a few years back. He was actually involved in that, in that particular area," Rowland said.

Last year, Burkett survived a tornado that destroyed his home with him inside.

He just recently rebuilt his home back in April, "And I had met Debra here with miss Shirley at Old Mill Market. They had come in and she took care of Ms. Shirley," he said.

Rowland says he's known Shirley Treadwell for years, and she was a "pillar of the community."

"Well-liked, always had a smile on her face, we were always happy to see her, and she seemed happy wherever she was at. She was just a glowing lady. We're going to miss her, and she lived a great life," Rowland said.

Coroner Joey Proctor says he hasn't seen anything like this happen in Monroe County.

"To have this many fatalities in one accident is very rare. Occasionally, we will have a motor vehicle accident where we will have 3 or four victims, but cars vs. trains are few and far between, thank goodness." Proctor said.

"We certainly have to love each other and laugh with each other each and every single day, because we don't know what's going to happen the next day," Proctor said.

We are still waiting to find out what caused the car to get stuck, and this accident is still under investigation.