A man was struck and killed by a Brightline train shortly after 8 p.m. Sunday night. Police say they believe the person intentionally stood on the tracks as the southbound train rolled across Forest Hill Boulevard in West Palm Beach.
According to witnesses, they begged the man to get away from the oncoming train, but he would not listen and stayed put on the tracks.
Aside from the tragic loss of life, the accident created traffic complications lasting several hours and backups of more than a mile long.
Since beginning service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in January, Brightline trains have struck and killed three people and injured at least three others.
Train officials say the added safety measures including signs warning people that the trains travel at speeds up to 79 mph, faster than other trains that pass through the area.
Brightline has plans to offer extended passenger service between Miami and Orlando.
January 18, 2018
Brightline trains began VIP rides of their West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale route last Friday. Since then, two people have been fatally struck by the higher-speed trains.
Police say that Wednesday afternoon, a bicyclist was hit and killed by a Brightline train on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks in Boynton Beach.
The incident marks the third train fatality on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks within a week.
This latest occurrence happended at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and the Florida East Coast tracks, just east of downtown Boynton Beach. A Police investigation is underway.
One week ago, Linda Short, 73, of Berea, Ohio, was killed by a freight train while she drove her car onto the Florida East Coast tracks in Delray Beach.
Just two days later, Melissa Lavell, 32, was killed after apparently trying outrun an oncoming Brightline passenger train, also in Boynton Beach. In total, four deaths have resulted from Brightline train accidents.
Below is our previous story about last Friday’s fatal train accident:
According to reports, witnesses told Boynton Beach police officers that Melissa Lavell, 32, identified as the woman killed by a Brightline train during one of its VIP runs on Friday night, was on the tracks after the guard rails were down.
Those who observed the accident told police it appeared Lavell tried to beat the train across before it struck her.
BRIGHTLINE PRESIDENT AND COO PATRICK GODDARD STATED, “IT’S ALWAYS UNFORTUNATE WHEN THERE’S AN ACCIDENT LIKE THAT.” HE CONTINUED, “CERTAINLY, SAFETY IS OUR TOP PRIORITY AND WHEN THESE [INCIDENTS] OCCUR, AS THEY DO, WE’RE PREPARED.”
Brightline was operating preview rides for business leaders and V.I.P’s from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach when the incident occurred.
Passengers say that the train made an abrupt stop, but no one on board was injured. Riders were informed that there was a “trespassing incident.” They were detained for approximately two hours before they were evacuated from the train and placed on buses which transported them to Fort Lauderdale.
The accident happened shortly before 6:30 p.m. at the 600 North Florida East Coast Railway crossing. Boynton Beach Police began an investigation into the fatal hit.
Brightline began their introductory West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale routes the following day.
Friday night’s accident marks the third time a person has been killed being struck by a Brightline train. The other deaths occurred in in July and November of 2017.