Father may be charged in train-car crash that sent daughter to hospital

COLOMA, Mich. – A little girl remains in the hospital in a partial body cast after the car she was riding in was hit by a train.

Her father was driving and may be charged.

Michigan State Police investigator Steve Vrablic says detectives reviewed video from the train, they looked at data from the crossing control box, and pulled information from the black box taken from Anthony Bearty's car. All indicate Bearty was likely at fault.

"I went over the tracks first. I heard the train's horn blowing and then a boom," said Megan Simmons, a friend of Bearty.

Megan Simmons watched in horror as 27-year-old Bearty and his 4-year-old daughter Mikahlah in the car behind her got slammed by a passing Amtrak train.

Bearty was heading north on Kerlikowski Road near Coloma on Saturday when the train hit them.

Their car went airborne and was left in a tangled mess. Both victims were airlifted to Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo.

Michigan State Police say Bearty told them he didn't see the crossing lights. 

WSBT spent more than an hour back out on the scene Monday, and each time a train went by, bells sounded and lights flashed.

Neighbors living nearby say they always hear the train's horn blowing as well and that accidents at the crossing are rare.

Investigators looked at video from the train involved in the crash and say it clearly showed the crossing signals and sounds were working properly.

However, the tracks do not have any crossing arms.

"Not only did police review the dash cam video from the train, they also took the black box from the silver building there. It records when the signals go off and on at this crossing. It too showed the bells and lights were working when the crash occurred."

Bearty's family would not go on camera, but her grandmother did tell WSBT that Bearty maintains he did not see the lights, saying maybe the sun blinded him.

They say he's very upset about what happened and has been at his daughter's side in the hospital.

Mikalah has a broken leg and eye socket but is expected to make a full recovery.

She may be home for Thanksgiving.

Police say the black box from Bearty's car indicates he accelerated prior to impact.

All that will be included in a report headed to the Berrien County Prosecutor's office next week to review for possible charges.

Police are also looking into whether Bearty may have been driving on a suspended license.

Bearty was released from the hospital on Sunday. His family says he is badly bruised and is walking with a cane.

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