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3 Identified in Deadly Amtrak Train vs Minivan Accident in Kalamazoo

Joshua Cartwright, Ashley Melson, Justin Mastin

Joshua Cartwright, Ashley Melson, Justin Mastin

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, MI – Police are identifying the three individuals who were killed in a horrific accident between an Amtrak train and a minivan as Joshua Cartwright, 21-years-old, Justin Mastin, 19-years-old, and Ashley Melson, 20-years-old.

Michigan State Police are stating the driver involved in a deadly train crash drove around other cars that were stopped at the train crossing signals before being hit.  Joshua Cartwright is being identified as the driver of the minivan.

The railroad crossing lights, gates and bells were working at the time of the crash about 4:30 p.m. in Oshtemo Township, which is west of Kalamazoo, police said.

WZZM13 is reporting that according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office, Cartwright’s driver’s license had expired November 1st, 2014. He also had two other tickets on his record, including a citation in December of 2012 for speeding (60 mph in a 45 mph zone). He also failed to comply with judgment which led to a suspension of his license from August of 2013 until March 26th of 2014. Cartwright was also ticketed in September of 2011 for failing to display a valid license.

The fatal car accident was near 11th Street and West KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township when their car was struck by a train.

The driver of a minivan ignored the safety arms at the railroad tracks and went around the gate.  It was at that time when the Amtrak train, traveling at approximately 80 miles per hour, hit the vehicle around 4:30pm on Tuesday, November 18th, 2014 killing the three people inside of the minivan.

The Fire Chief states that witnesses told him the car drove around train crossing barrier gate after it was down and lights were flashing.

11th Street was shut down at KL Avenue after the fatal crash.  Reports are that car parts were scattered all the way into Kalamazoo.  No one on the train was injured.

The train was serving the Wolverine line and was eastbound at the time, from Chicago to Detroit, carrying about 150 passengers. It was stopped for about four hours after the crash and started moving again after 8 p.m.

It will never be known why Cartwright went around several cars that were waiting behind the gates of the train crossing  and to go around those downed gates with signals working to only be killed by an 80 mile an hour train.

Family members have started a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Melson’s funeral.

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