Witnesses claim Woman killed by Brightline train was on tracks after gates were down
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.