Second person in less than a week killed by high-speed Brightline train in South Florida


A bicyclist was hit and killed Wednesday by a Brightline train on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks in Boynton Beach, police said.

It is the second death involving a Brightline train and third train fatality on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks within a week.

Wednesday’s incident occurred at east of downtown Boynton Beach, according to Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater. Police are on the scene and continuing to investigate, she said.

Brightline passenger trains share the rail corridor with Florida East Coast Railway freight trains. Both are owned by Florida East Coast Industries.

On Jan. 10, Linda Short, 73, of Berea, Ohio, was killed at 7:40 p.m. after driving her car onto the Florida East Coast tracks in Delray Beach and into the path of an oncoming freight train, according to Delray Beach police.

Two days later, Melissa Lavell, 32, was killed after apparently trying to beat an oncoming Brightline passenger train after the guard rails were down, also in Boynton Beach, according to police.

There have been four Brightline fatalities since the high-speed passenger railroad began test runs this summer. The passenger railroad began limited passenger service, between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Saturday morning.

Brightline in a statement Wednesday said only: “Local authorities are on the scene, and we are engaged with them as they begin their investigation.”

Last week, following Lavell’s death, the railroad urged pedestrians and drivers to obey railroad safety rules.

“Safety is Brightline’s highest priority, which is evident from the numerous additional infrastructure improvements that have been installed along the FEC Railway corridor to the educational and awareness campaigns currently underway,” a Brightline spokeswoman said in a statement.

“Education and enforcement are vital, and we implore the public to abide by the rules and laws in place designed to keep them safe around active railroads,” the statement said.

There have been at least 17 fatalities on the Florida East Coast Railway tracks over the last 12 months, and 74 over the last five years, according to data reported to the Federal Railroad Administration.

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