Overton Brothers In Train Accident - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Overton Brothers In Train Accident

One East Texas community has experienced four fatal train accidents this year. The latest fatal collision happened yesterday a little before 3 o'clock near Overton, off County Road 132. The engineer told DPS the teens' car did not yield for the train.  7 months ago, after the first fatality, a Rusk County Commissioner says he requested, TX-DOT install warning devices at several county roads.  One of those included on his list; was the location the fatal train accident occurred yesterday.

"I think we need to do everything we can do and that way if there is an accident especially a fatality, we know we have done everything we can do. To this point, the state, railroad or whoever is responsible have not done everything," says Bill Hale, Precinct 1 Rusk County Commissioner.

In yesterday's accident 18 year old Jacob Gilbert was killed. His brother 23 year old Casey Gilbert is listed in critical condition at Mother Frances Hospital. But before yesterday, the 2 Overton brothers had already experienced life altering car accidents.

"They have had such a hard time the last year. He (Casey) and his brother both, so this to happen now. You ask yourself and God why?" says Shawn Hickman, friend of Casey.

Shawn Hickman has been friends with 23 year old Casey Gilbert for 15 years.   Yesterday, Casey was driving a white Cadillac when it was hit by a train. Casey was critically injured. His brother 18 year old Jacob Gilbert was on the passengers side, he was killed. Casey and Jacob were not just brothers but shared a bond from other accidents.

"Both of them were in 2 separate car accidents. They were both paralyzed from the waist chest down. About 2 months ago Jacob was in a another bad car accident, where he broke both of his legs," says Shawn.

10 months apart, both brothers were paralyzed from car accidents. Jacob's wreck was right before his senior year of high school. Superintendent Dr. Mark Stretcher of Overton remembers how Jacob did not let his disability prevent him from continuing with school.

"He continued once he got through the surgery and medical related issues. He drove back up here everyday, he had a van that was made accessible for him. He would drive up here and park out here in the handicap spot and go to class.   He got to all of these classes and worked hard and we had so much respect for what he did last year to finish out his studies and get his high school diploma," says Dr. Stretcher.

Shawn says it was just a few months ago that Casey had come to accept he may never walk again.

"He was able to get out and not be embarrassed or anything and smile a whole lot more," says Shawn.

Casey and Jacob were making plans for the future. Shawn says they were going to go to college. Shawn says he had to come to site this morning.

"I just wanted to see, I didn't want to believe it was real," says Shawn.

Shawn says if warning lights had been up it could have prevented the wreck.  

"Something needs to be done or people are going to keep being killed and they need to put up some type of warning signal out here," says Shawn.

Again, Casey Gilbert is still at Mother Frances Hospital listed in critical condition.  DPS has ordered an autopsy on Jacob Gilbert.  Commissioner Hale says he will continue to contact TX-DOT to push to get warning systems at the crossings he requested.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

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