Two killed in car, train collision

Allen John Pego's uncle remembers him as a good family man who was fun to be around.

Samuel Pego said his nephew also was "one heck of a sculptor."

"He was just a beautiful person," Samuel Pego said Sunday afternoon. "He was very humble."

Allen John Pego was one of two Mount Pleasant residents who were killed Saturday in a collision involving a vehicle and the Santa Express train.

A 2002 Mitsubishi Galant, driven by 31-year-old Jennifer Mae VanBuskirk, hit the engine of the Santa Express train at 2:12 p.m. on E. Baseline Road, west of Mission Street. The Jaws of Life were needed to remove the victims from the car. VanBuskirk and one of her two passengers, 31-year-old Pego, were pronounced dead at the scene.

The second passenger, 28-year old Msquabnah Pego, was air-lifted to St. Mary's of Michigan in Saginaw, and then transported to Hurley Medical Center in Flint, where he remains in critical but stable condition. He underwent surgery for his injuries Sunday afternoon.

There were 67 passengers in the back two cars of the train. None of the train's passengers were injured in the accident. Most passengers were unaware the accident took place.

"Fortunately no one was hurt on the train," said Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski.

The Sheriff's Department does not have much information on the case, because they have not had an opportunity to interview anyone involved in the accident.

It is unknown whether drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash, and the police may need to wait for the autopsy results, Mioduszewski said.

He said they are hoping Msquabnah's health improves so they can talk to him in an attempt to figure out what happened leading up to the crash.

"We are just trying to piece together all of the pieces," Mioduszewski said. "We don't have all of the answers yet."

Mioduszewski said the only thing they have to go off of is about 30 feet of skid marks on the pavement.

"The driver did know the train was coming," Mioduszewski said. "It's not something we have very often, especially in that location."

The two front-seat passengers were wearing their seat belts, and the passenger in the rear - Msquabnah - was not, according a the press release. The airbags in the front seat also were deployed on impact of the crash.

There has been a previous accident at the same location, involving a train and a car in 1999. Mioduszewski said it was then a dirt road, which since has been paved.


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