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An elderly woman was killed and her husband seriously injured Thursday evening in the Town of Hamburg when their vehicle drove into the side of a passing train.

Catherine Wahler, 81, of the Town of Boston, was taken to Mercy Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her husband, William, 82, the driver, was taken by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in serious but stable condition, authorities said.

The accident happened shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Sowles Road.

"The car went around a number of vehicles at the crossing and hit the side of one of the train cars," Scranton Fire Chief Mike Quinn said at the scene.

The car had been traveling east on Sowles Road, just east of South Park Avenue, when it came to other vehicles stopped at the rail crossing, Quinn said. The car pulled around them and hit the side of a rail car near the end of the northbound train.

Both occupants were out of the car when firefighters arrived, Quinn said, and the engine compartment was on fire.

There are flashing lights, but no gates, at that rail crossing.

A bystander said freight trains come through infrequently.


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