Railroad News

Michigan Teen Walking Bike Across Tracks Killed by Amtrak Train Near Closed Norfolk Southern Crossing

(Galesburg, Michigan – June 30, 2014)

A 16-year-old senior-to-be at the local high school died Monday evening at about 7:00 P.M., EDT as he walked his bicycle along and then tried to cross over Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks near the currently closed Michigan 96/Burgess Road crossing in Galesburg, MI.

Tyler Beischl, who attends Galesburg-Augusta High School, was struck and killed by the eastbound Amtrak train, one of about 10 which cross M96/Burgess daily at a top allowable speed of 79 mph, although officers said the train was going slower than that, as he attempted to cross NS rails just west of the crossing, which is closed to traffic for construction. Although the crossing is equipped with both crossing gates and flashing lights, there was confirmation through the locomotive’s videotaping system that, with the crossing closed to automobile traffic, the active crossing protection devices were still in operation during the time auto traffic is shut down.

“It appears that he never saw the train,” Galesburg Police Sgt. Jeff Heppler told Kalamazoo Gazette Public Safety Reporter Rex Hall Jr. “It doesn’t look like anything more than (Tyler) was crossing and he never saw the train coming.”

Sgt Heppler expressed his concern to Fox TV News Channel 17’s Deanna Falzone about a planned speed increase to 110 mph for Amtrak trains through the corridor, telling her that “The town has been gearing up because this railroad is going to increase the speed limit down through here. We’re trying to get folks educated that trains are very large and can be relatively quiet for the size they are, but they’re very deadly…”

Meanwhile, the Fox 17 reporter found Tyler’s older brother, Markus Eberhart, at the tragic scene placing flags in his brother’s memory.”I don’t know why he had to go, I really don’t,” lamented Markus. “I just want to see him, back here with me. It doesn’t seem real, just feels like a dream – but it’s true.”