What once was a minivan is now nothing more than debris after it was hit by an Amtrak train Tuesday just outside of Kalamazoo killing all three passengers inside.  And leaving investigators to wonder what caused the tragedy.

MLive.com is reporting today that those in the van, identified  only at this time as in their teens and early 20's, went around several other vehicles waiting at the gates of the training cross to try to beat the train.

The incident happened on the trails at 11th Street and KL Avenue in Oshtemo Township.

Accident investigators won't have much to work with in trying to determine exactly why the vehicle was attempting to cross the track with full knowledge that the train was coming.  Witnesses reported the guard rails and lights were both operating.

"The vehicle was divided into three pieces upon the collision," according to First Lt. Dale Hinz of the Michigan State Police.

The article indicates that the passenger area of the van was carried several feet down the track before the train could stop.  Emergency personnel worked for hours to extricate the victims.

The train was traveling at 80-miles-per-hour at the time of the collision.  They are known to travel as fast as 110 miles-per-hour.

Hinz said there is no indication at this time as to why the victims would have ignored the warning and tried to cross the track.

"It's just extremely tragic.  Certainly as law enforcement and first responders we don't want to encounter a situation like this, but unfortunately its the situation we're deal with..."

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