Memorial For Surviving Son Of Train Accident Victim

By: Jared Cerullo Email
By: Jared Cerullo Email

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Monday, January 31, 2011

A memorial fund has been set up for the surviving son of a woman killed in a tragic train versus car accident this past Friday. While authorities are waiting for dental records to make identification official, funeral arrangements for Sheila Pfanensteil-Hurtt and her 18 month-old son Koltin have already been announced. They were killed when their car was struck by a train at 177 Highway and 90th Avenue near El Dorado Lake. She leaves behind an 8 year-old son.

Donations can be made to the Braylon Draper educational fund in care of Price & Sons Funeral Home. Box 161, Leoti, KS 67861

The intersection at 90th and 177 is marked only with cross bucks. There are no lights and guard bars. Her friends say Sheila Hurtt was killed at this intersection on Friday.

"I wouldn't trade her for the world," said Jill Cox. "She was my best friend. She was more like a sister to me."

Cox wants answers. Some of them she may never know. Her best friend was killed at the train crossing late Friday. The car was dragged over a half-mile before it was kicked loose from the train and burst into flames. The charred ground still visible at the Ellis Rd. crossing.

"She's just a wonderful person," Cox explained. "Maybe it was her time and maybe I'm being selfish, but I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels the same way. I just want her back."

Cox and Hurtt babysat each other's kids. They talked practically every day. At this point, Cox refuses to believe that Hurtt would have intentionally stopped her car on the railroad tracks.

"She probably could have drove that area blindfolded," Cox said.

But at the same time, she doesn't understand, either, why Hurtt would not have seen the train. Oncoming trains are easily visible as vehicles approach the tracks. Sheriff Craig Murphy's investigation is still open as he awaits dental records to positively identify the victims.

"Her kids were her life. Her priority," Cox said as she wept. "She was an excellent mother."

Sheila Hurt was 33 years-old. A funeral for her and Koltin is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Leoti, KS.

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