Holiday weekend train crash victim dies

COVINGTON -- The driver of the SUV that was struck by a train at the North Emory Street crossing over the Fourth of July weekend has died, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

GSP spokesman Lt. Paul Cosper said Linda E. Long, 62, of Covington died during the night Monday at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Her husband was a passenger in the vehicle and remains in serious condition at the hospital, Cosper said.

The crash occurred Saturday, July 3, about 1 p.m. Witnesses said it appeared that the Honda SUV went around the arm of the crossing signal in an apparent attempt to beat the train.

Cosper said the GSP investigation revealed that the van was traveling north on Ga. Highway 81, or North Emory Street, and the passenger side of the vehicle was hit first by the westbound train.

According to Covington Police spokesman Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, who was at the scene, "We were told the vehicle was actually lifted up and fell on its roof. It took the train a while to stop and it probably pushed the van 50 yards down the track."