MACOUPIN COUNTY, Ill. ( – Strangers made a desperate attempt to save a man trapped in a crashed car on Illinois railroad tracks - but they ran out of time.

Ronald Vallery, 67, of Shipman, Illinois had been involved in an accident near those railroad tracks. Witnesses on scene tell News 4 the car had rolled over several times and became disabled on the railroad tracks. Vallery was injured and trapped in the car, on the Plainview railroad tracks.

Police in Macoupin County said approximately 12 people attempted to free Vallery from the car - and then realized a train was coming. While some continued rescue efforts, others called 911 in an effort to have them get the train to stop. Dispatchers attempted to call the train company to get the train stopped but were unsuccessful.

"It was very chaotic," Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl said. "Dispatchers said there were several calls coming in. At least, four people on the scene trying to help get him out of the car.” 

Listen: The 911 calls, obtained by News 4, depict the chaotic scene.

The train struck the car, killing Vallery, around 4:00 Thursday afternoon.

"This was one of the things I, for 20 years, hadn't seen anything like this before," Kahl said. "If it had been, maybe, five more minutes or so. We might have been able to get the train stopped. It just came so quickly."

Plainview is located about 50 miles northeast of St. Louis.

Train Tracks

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