CRENSHAW, Miss. — The shrieking sound came to a screeching halt Saturday night just before 10 p.m.
The noise rattled Joyce Berry and she jumped out of bed.
“I heard something that sounded like a basketball hit the side of my house,” Berry told WREG. “That’s a little too close for comfort.”
Her granddaughter later called letting her know the devastating news: an ATV was hit by a train just feet from Berry’s home.
In a statement, Amtrak officials confirmed the train was traveling from New Orleans to Chicago when it came into contact with an ATV with two people on it.
“I looked out the front door and saw red lights flashing down at the railroad track,” said Berry.
Berry then ran up the road and asked a firefighter what was going on.
“I said, ‘What happened?’ He said an Amtrak hit a four-wheeler. I asked if there were any fatalities? He said, ‘Yes m’am. Two,” said Berry.
Authorities told WREG the crossing signals were flashing red on KT Road as an ATV tried to outrun the train.
Family members say Ashlyn Helms and Mason Overall were on that ATV and were both instantly killed.
Railroad crews and investigators were on the scene well into Sunday as loved ones set up a memorial next to the tracks.
They were to upset to talk on camera but told WREG Mason and Helms’ spirits lit up the town.
Helms graduated from Strayhorn High School two years ago, and Overall graduated the year before where he played football and basketball.
His family members say he just had a child in December.
What’s even worse, Overall’s parents just grieved his brother’s death. He was killed in a car accident in 2016.
“Everybody at church was talking about it this morning,” Berry said.
She said the town is shaken up.
Overall’s father says he wanted to spread one message, and that is to just hold your child tightly.
Amtrak says 121 passengers and crew members were on board, but no one was hurt. The train was delayed for almost four hours.