(Hazlehurst, Mississippi – October 10, 2014)
A local man in his forties and his two young relatives, walking or sitting near Canadian National Railroad tracks, were hit by a CN freight train near Frost Street in Hazlehurst, MS Friday evening at about 6:15 P.M., CDT, killing the man and one boy, and sending the other boy to a the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS with non-life threatening injuries.
Hazlehurst Police Chief Byron Swilley identified the man as Andrew Gilmore and the child who died as his three-year-old cousin, Rashad Gilmore. The injured child was identified as Rena Gilmore, 4, all of Hazlehurst.
“Anytime you have something like this, it touches you,” commented Chief Swilley. “When you walk up and see kids, it touches your heart.”
Witnesses said they tried to warn the three of the oncoming train, but that they did not move away from the tracks quickly enough. The dozen CN freight and Amtrak passenger trains that travel through Hazlehurst daily can operate at a speed as high as 79 mph, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.
The sound of the tragedy was said to be so loud that people attending a nearby high school football game came rushing to the scene to help. The CN railroad tracks bisect the community on a basically-unfenced corridor.