Freight Train Hits And Kills 3 People

( – A freight train struck and killed three people in Fairfax County, Virginia, including one child. The incident happened on a railway bridge over Accotink Creek on the evening of June 5 when a northbound Norfolk Southern train hit two adults and a child walking along the tracks at around 8.20 pm. Norfolk Southern closed the tracks when police arrived to find three dead bodies at the scene. There were no other injuries.

Fairfax County police later identified the dead as 28-year-old Diego Arriaza, 28-year-old Yeraldin Pardo, and an unnamed 8-year-old. Initial investigations found that the train directly struck Arriaza, whereas Pardo and the child died when they fell from the bridge into Accotink Creek. The tragedy remains under investigation, but police said they did not believe excessive speed or alcohol were factors. Officers also confirmed the tracks are close to a lake and a popular hiking area.

Photos on social media immediately before the accident showed a woman and young child sitting atop a train trestle, overlooking the lake below. Witnesses described hearing a train sound its horn as it approached the trestle, and others stated that it is common to see people walk or jog in the area.

Local residents organized a vigil for the victims in the days that followed, where people laid flowers and lit candles in prayer. Norfolk Southern issued a statement saying its staff had cooperated fully with police and, “Our thoughts are with the family and loved ones of those involved in this tragic incident.”

Jennifer DeAngelis of the rail safety organization Operation Lifesaver warned that people too often believe train tracks are unused, particularly in rural areas. She added, “Whenever you see tracks, you should always think train.” DeAngelis furthermore noted that modern trains are quieter and harder to hear, and freight and cargo trains often do not keep to a strict or publicly available schedule.

Railroad deaths in 2022 numbered 954 nationwide, an increase of 11% from the previous year.

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