PANAMA (KFSM) -- On Sunday (Aug. 7), Panama Schools Superintendent Grant Ralls said he received a text letting him know three of his students died in a train accident.
"It's something you never get over. These kids are our life," he said. "It pains me to have to talk about them because of having to go through this, but our thoughts and prayers go out to these parents."
According to police, April Goines was driving on Dewey Avenue in Poteau when she crossed the railroad tracks and a train collided with her vehicle.
Investigators said they are still trying to figure out the cause of the accident.
Police said April and three of her sons died at the scene. A family spokesperson identified the boys as Jace Hardy, 17, Ruger Goines, 7, and Remington Goines, 12. One other child, Jacklynn Goines, 7, survived the crash and is at a hospital with her father.
Panama Schools is set to starts classes on Thursday (Aug. 11), but because of the amount of students and parents who plan to attend the funeral for the family, that date may be pushed back.
"When we get in contact with the parents and get notified what time the services will be, then we will adjust the schedules to when we will start school," Ralls said.
According to a spokesperson with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, federal funds were in place since 2011 to add safety measures to railroad crossings across the state. The crossing at Dewey Avenue in Poteau was identified and approved to receive the funding. The spokesperson said the city was not able to come up with their 10 percent to match the federal funds. The work would have allowed crossing gates to be installed to the crossing.
The crossing stayed on a list until this year when the city approved paying the 10 percent in matching funds. The safety project is expected to be complete in one year. It will add a crossing gate and a sidewalk to the north side of Dewey Avenue. The project is estimated to cost $313,000.