Pacelli student named as victim in fatal collision

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

An 18-year-old Rose Creek man was killed Tuesday morning when his truck collided with a train.

The incident occurred around 11:30 a.m. just off Highway 218 near County Road 4.

The driver, Joseph Jon Lewison, was the only person in the truck.

Email newsletter signup

Sheriff Terese Amazi said Lewison was traveling east on County Road 4 toward Highway 218 when his truck collided with the train, which was heading northbound.

Amazi said icy road conditions played a role in the collision. She said there were no extensive skid marks approaching the tracks, so it appears Lewison began braking close to the tracks and was unable to stop.

Although the railroad crossing has stop signs and railroad crossing signs, it does not have gates or lights. There are also trees surrounding the area, making trains difficult to see until they are in the intersection.

The cab of the truck was relatively in tact, suggesting the front of Lewison’s truck glanced off the corner of the train’s engine, causing it to be thrown into the northbound ditch. Lewison was partially ejected from the cab in the collision.

Amazi said Lewison was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash.

Lewison was a senior at Pacelli High School in Austin.

Pacelli Principal Mary Holtorf said the school is holding a memorial service Wednesday morning and will have a tribute banner at the school library where students can write memorial messages about Lewison.

“When something like this happens, it affects everyone,” Holtorf said. “He was just one of those kids you think about and smile.”

“He had this kind of mischievous side, and he was quick witted and he was one of those nice kids that the other people looked up to,” Holtorf added. “He was a good kid.”

Holtorf said a small chapel at the school is open for students to light candles and say a prayer for the family. The school will also hold a moment of silence at 11:45 a.m. today, which was approximately the time of the accident.

Reporter Trey Mewes contributed to this report.