Norfolk Southern Train Kills Toddler and Injures Baby Sitter on Virtually Inescapable Levee
(Zephyrhills, Florida December 12, 2016)
A two-year-old boy died after being struck by a train the group didnt see or hear until it was too late. The boy was among a party of four including his four-year-old sister, his baby sitter and an adult friend, who were walking along Norfolk Southern railroad tracks in Zephyrhills, FL, at about 11:55 A.M., EST Monday.
Killed was Hunter Fink, while his baby sitter, Heather Henderson, 26, was hospitalized in stable condition. Henderson was holding Hunter, but couldnt get out of the trains way. Cody Williams, 27, a friend of the baby sitter, jumped nearly eight feet to a swampy area below the railroad levee, saving the unidentified girl and him from injury.
Zephyrhills Fire Chief Shawn Whited told WTSP that the 133-car freight train was traveling from Tampa, FL to Waycross, GA in 60 mph territory. The train is on an elevated rail with steep gravel 6 to 7 feet down on both sides, giving those who were walking along the tracks few options little time or place to escape the oncoming train.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco informed the news media of Hunters death, saying to, among others, WTSP-TVs Eric Glasser, that The little boy didnt make it today, and asking all to Pray for them.
The rail line, which has few grade crossings for which the train crew would sound the locomotives horn, travels over a trestle across the Hillsborough River just before the site of the tragedy. No evidence of fencing of the railroad tracks was indicated in satellite or news media photos of the scene, which the Bradenton Herald described as located in a densely wooded area.