Family Bracing for Holiday After Deadly Train Accident

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A metro family is warning people not to try to outrun trains. Coli Lafferty was riding in a car that was smashed by a train on Sunday morning.

The 25-year-old leaves behind a six-year-old son and an eight-month-old baby girl. The driver and another passenger are still in the hospital after the accident. The driver could face criminal charges.

On November 3rd, police conducted an operation where they caught 38 drivers in just two hours who were driving around crossing arms that were down. It was meant to be a warning to prevent exactly what happened on Sunday.

There was no way the train could slow down fast enough. Lafferty never had a chance sitting in the front passenger seat.

"We have to tell Xander, the six-year-old that his mom is dead," said the victim's sister, Stevi Scott.

Two aunts will tell their nephew, a boy who loves trains, that his mom is gone. Police say the man driving Lafferty and another friend drove around a crossing gate thinking he could beat the train. Scott has some advice for others who are thinking of trying the same thing.

"Don't risk it,"  Scott said. "You're playing a dangerous game that no matter how big, how tough you are you will not win."

Everyone in this family shares the same feelings.

"It's not worth it," said the victim's sister Tifani Williamson. "We will spend Thanksgiving without my sister. The other two people in the car, their families will spend Thanksgiving in a hospital and it could've been avoided."

Williamson says Coli's baby girl is now struggling to take a bottle.

"Her eight-month-old was exclusively breast fed," Williamson said. "She had never taken a bottle, she never drank formula she just knew her mom."

It hurts her to know police tried warning Independence drivers with an enforcement operation recently.

"People were mad that the police were stopping them," she said. "They felt like they were being picked on."

The non-profit group Operation Life-Safer says 260 people died last year in train-car collisions. There were 12 victims in Missouri and seven victims in Kansas.

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