Woman killed in train and pick-up collision identified


Sharon Stevens, Education Reporter

KSDK -- A company spokesperson has identified the 31-year-old female driver who died when her pick-up truck collided with an Amtrak Train in Hartford, Illinois.

Colleagues say Heather Balven was a geo-technical engineer for Terracon, an engineering firm based in Olathe, Kansas.

Fire officials on scene said Balven was driving eastbound on 7th Street when her vehicle was struck at an unmarked crossing near Olive in Hartford, Illinois around 7:30 a.m. The train was estimated to be traveling 50 to 60 miles-per-hour at the time of the accident.

A tow truck operator on scene said that the nearly demolished car was the worst he'd ever seen.

An Amtrak spokesperson said train 302 was headed from St. Louis to Chicago. The train left downtown St. Louis at 6:40 a.m.

Authorities said as the train approached, Balven's car was already on the tracks.

"Looking at the marks at the scene of the impact we believe she was moving.. speed we don't know and we don't know if she was trying to race the train," said Hartford Assistant Fire Chief David Owens.

No one on board the train was injured.

Terracon released a statement about the accident:

"We are still trying to get our hands around this. We're trying to ascertain the facts. Our primary concern is her immediate family and her Terracon family."

Company spokesperson Vanessa Zambo says Terracon will have grief counselors available for both co-workers and family members.