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One dead after train, vehicle collide near Belle Glade; all lanes of Southern …

By Sonja Isger and Alexandra Seltzer

Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Updated: 4:44 p.m. Friday, March 30, 2012

Posted: 8:13 a.m. Friday, March 30, 2012

— A 61-year-old woman died this morning when she tried to beat an approaching train that struck her mini-van.

The crash happened at 7:30 a.m. at Southern and West Sugar House Road, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Don DeLucia said.

Arlene J. Gallo, of Lehigh Acres, was driving a 2007 Honda Odyssey east on Southern Boulevard.

A U.S. Sugar train hauling 29 empty train cars was heading south on the tracks, according to a Florida Highway Patrol crash report released this afternoon.

The red flashing lights, audible signal and the crossing arm were all activated while the train was approaching.

The front of the train hit the driver’s side of the Odyssey. Gallo was pronounced dead at the scene.

Driving the train was 64-year-old Leland F. Webster of Okeechobee. He and his 60-year-old passenger Merle W. Phillips, also of Okeechobee, were not injured in the crash, the report says.

The train was stopped on the tracks blocking both eastbound and westbound lanes of Southern, also known as State Road 80, for more than two hours.

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