Three members of Pontotoc County family killed when train hits minivan

A young child is fighting for her life after the tragic wreck

SHERMAN, Miss. (WCBI) – Three members of a family have died, and one is fighting for her life after their minivan was hit by a train in Sherman.

The town of Sherman was holding its regularly scheduled court Monday evening when the call came in from 911.

“We got the call of a traffic crash of car versus train, on arrival we found a single vehicle had been struck by the train,” said Sherman Police Chief Joel Spellins.

Inside the minivan, 51-year-old Robert Sheffield, his wife, 52-year-old Sharon Sheffield, and their 14-year-old son, Max Sheffield, died. Seven-year-old Elizabeth Sheffield was thrown from the vehicle on impact. She was airlifted to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

Spellins said the lights and bells at the railroad crossing were working. The crossing has no gates.

“The vehicle had knocked down one of the railroad warning lights, it was gone but the one on the other side of the track was still going,” said Spellins.

The chief emphasized he doesn’t know why the minivan didn’t stop at the railroad crossing, but he encouraged all motorists to be extra cautious and aware this time of year.

“Terrible tragedy to lose lives, want everyone to pay attention and get to where they need to go safely, everybody is so occupied with other things, hate to see the loss of life in stuff like this,” he said.

The crossing was also the site of a fatal car train wreck four years ago.

The chief said the train had more than 100 empty grain cars and three engines.

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