A woman whose husband and two children were killed when the vehicle they were in was crushed by a train says her surviving child is the only thing keeping her going.
"If I wasn't for him, I'd be gone, too," said Alana Baxter, referring to her two-year-old son John.
"I feel like that train hit me, too."
After telling them she loved them, Baxter whisked daughters Julianne, 9, and Coral, 7, out the door Tuesday. Her husband, John Baxter, was driving them to Winterburn elementary school in west Edmonton.
Instead, Baxter's pickup was hit by a Via passenger train at a controlled crossing around 8:40 a.m. as drivers battled a blinding snowstorm.
CN Railway spokeswoman Kelli Svendsen said the tracks were equipped with warning lights and gates to discourage drivers from crossing.
"Indications are the lights and gates were functioning normally at the time of the incident," she said.
Karyn Hick was heading north and stopped to let the train pass. She saw the pickup crossing the tracks as the bars were coming down, she said.
"I heard a bang," Hick said. "And I (saw) a vehicle fly through the air. I thought maybe I was imagining it, but I looked in the ditch and the vehicle was in the ditch."
Alana Baxter first learned something was amiss when school staff called her to ask why her girls hadn't turned up for class.
Soon after, she learned of the horrific crash that killed her husband of 15 years and their daughters.
A longtime Oilers fan, John Baxter had just undergone brain surgery and was released from hospital a week ago, she said.
"He survived that," she said. "Then this happened."
CN was working to determine if speed, road conditions, the weather or the railway crossing signals were factors.