Teen too distracted by iPod to heed train engine’s warning blast

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – A 16-year-old at Roosevelt High School sophomore is being treated for a concussion at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center in Trenton after being clipped by the engine of a southbound Northfolk Southern train Thursday morning as he was cutting across the railroad tracks when walking to school.

    Police say apparently the student was listening to a digital music player and did not hear or see the train until he was struck.       Sgt. James Pouliot of the Traffic Safety Division said in a statement that the engineer driving the train said at the scene that he sounded his horn, but that the student did not look up until impact.

    “The engineer was blowing the heck out of his horn,” said Officer Gary Brightman, police special agent for Norfolk Southern. “When he saw the kid walking through the weeds, they were afraid to look.”

    After reportedly being hit by the cowcatcher on the front of the train, and clipping his head against the side of the engine, school officials say the young man was able to make his way to Roosevelt High School, at which point police and rescue personnel were contacted, and an ambulance took him to the hospital.

    Oakwood spokeswoman Paula Rivera-Kerr confirmed that the youth is being treated at Oakwood Southshore and will not be transferred to a higher level trauma unit.

    Christine Hensley, administrator for Supt. Patricia Cole, said Thursday afternoon that the boy, a sophomore, is fine, and he doesn’t want his name released or publicized. “He will be five to seven days in the hospital,” she said. “He’s talking.”

    Pouliot said police were going to put something out to the high school reminding the students that crossing the tracks is not only unsafe, but is considered trespassing and can result in a citation.

    “We’ll probably put someone out there,” Pouliot said. “It’s no different than the jaywalking issues we have in front of the school.”

    Pouliot explained that 20 to 30 kids cross the track a day to save the five minutes it would take to cross using the sidewalks on Eureka under the viaduct.

    “We will advise the principal to advise the students that they can’t use the railroad tracks to cross,” Pouliot said, “And if they do, they will be cited (for trespassing).”

    Pouliot said the youth was cited by city police officers for trespassing on the tracks. The teen faces a misdemeanor charge of up to $500, and up to 93 days in jail. His court date had not been announced at press time.