Caller: Train victim seemed beyond help

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 03:57 PM

The 911 operator told a caller on Sunday to reassure the man in the middle of Neal Road that “help is on the way.”

“I don’t know that he’s alive,” the woman replied during the emergency call from near the railroad trestle that spans Neal near Hillsborough Road. Durham’s emergency communications department released a recording of the call Monday.
It was about 12:26 p.m. The caller said that the man, possibly Hispanic and in his late 20s or early 30s, appeared to have been hit by a train.
“He’s right under the railroad tracks here, but he’s in the road,” she said.
The operator asked if the man appeared to be awake.
“No, he doesn’t look conscious,” the caller said.
“Do you think that he is beyond any help?”
“Yes.”
Amtrak officials Monday said that Train 75, the Piedmont running between Raleigh and Charlotte, struck the man as he walked on the trestle.
The train carried 80 passengers. No one aboard the train was injured. Kimberly Woods, a spokeswoman for Amtrak, said that Train 75 was delayed about three hours during the investigation by Durham police and Norfolk Southern Railroad police.
The accident also caused delays for trains 74 and 76, Woods said.
It’s the third pedestrian death in Durham involving Amtrak trains since the beginning of December 2013. The victim’s identity hadn’t been released on Monday. It remains unclear why he was on the trestle.
A Federal Railroad Administration report in June 2013 gave demographic and behavioral profiles for people killed in what are described as “railroad-trespasser” incidents. On average, 458 people die each year in such accidents, while walking or running on tracks, crossing a bridge or trestle, driving a car, sleeping on tracks or intentionally stepping into a train’s path to commit suicide.
The second of Durham’s incidents during the past two months -- a female pedestrian -- was ruled a suicide by investigators. However, between 2005 and 2010, suicides accounted for only 28 percent of “railroad-trespasser” incidents, according to the report.
The report indicated that most victims are white men with a mean age of 38, often from low-income households. A little more than half the incidents involve drugs or alcohol.
The FRA’s website states that most “trespasser casualties” are preventable.
“Rail trespassers are most often pedestrians walking across or along railroad tracks as a shortcut,” the site reads. “Many trespassers are engaged in recreational activities, such as walking, jogging, bicycling, walking a dog, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or operating off-road, all-terrain vehicles. Others are loitering or engaged in other unlawful activity, including theft or vandalism.”

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