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Railroad Tracks and People Do Not Mix

car crash and train accident

Posted on May 24, 2008

Mourners from Orange Park said goodbye this week to a Clay County athlete killed in a train accident.

Wes Whiddon, 17, and two friends were fishing from a train trestle right next to SR- 220. A CSX train approach.  All three of the teens tried to get out of the way but Whiddon could not.

He was killed immediately, his two friends were hurt.

A junior and on the Fleming Island High School Golden Eagles football team, hundreds of people turned out for his funeral Tuesday.

The tracks are a popular fishing spots posted with trespass signs and privately owned.  Warning signs are posted around railroad crossings and tracks for a reason. They are dangerous.

Rail road tracks are for trains, never walk or drive down a train track. Not only is it illegal, it’;s dangerous and by the time an engineer spots you, it  is too late.  The train cannot stop quickly enough to avoid a collision.

Stay off railroad  bridges and trestles and tunnels. They are not wide enough for both you and the train at   the same time, and it is you who will get trapped.

Operation Lifesaver, an organization dedicated to reducing railroad crossing accidents, recommends that pedestrians take the following advice.

  1. Do not use railroad trestles for hunting, fishing or bungee jumping because there is only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass.
  2. Also do not walk, run, cycle or operate all terrain vehicles (ATVs) on railroad tracks, railroad rights-of-way or through tunnels.

Since 1990, more than 5,000 people have been killed while walking on railroad rights-of-way and at railroad crossings.  Thousands more have suffered serious injuries.