MONROE COUNTY, Ind. - The Indiana Rail Road Company has released video taken from the perspective of the conductor of a train as it ran over two women who had trespassed on an 80-foot-tall railway bridge in southern Indiana.
"Railroad tracks are private property, they are not public thoroughfares, and they are very dangerous."
Officials said that was never more clear after the recent, near-fatal incident.
Indiana Rail Road Company Manager of Intermodal and Economic Development Eric Powell said just before 7 a.m. on July 10, a train was headed northeast in Monroe County, approaching Lake Lemon (see map below) when the train's engineer saw two women in the train's path.
Powell said the women were trespassing on the middle of a bridge that spanned an inlet of Lake Lemon, known as Shuffle Creek Trestle. The bridge is 500 feet long and 80 feet high.
The engineer of the train reportedly stuck to protocol, immediately applying the emergency brake and sounding the horn. But as the two women ran from the train, the engineer said he was helpless to do more as the train caught up with them.
The video in this story comes from a camera planted on the front of the train's locomotive, and shows the scary scene unfold.
You can see in the video as one woman lies down on the tracks, the other seems to consider jumping off the bridge entirely. Then, with the train just 30 feet away, the second woman seems to think twice and lies down on the tracks. That's the last you see of them.
The engineer said by the time the train came to a stop, it had completely passed the point where the subjects stopped running, and the he believed he had just killed two people. He quickly alerted the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
But the two women survived, Powell said. They escaped to a nearby car and got away.
"The consequences of trespassing on railroad-owned property are never taken seriously by those choosing to do so, and this incident at Lake Lemon is one of the most glaring examples I’ve seen in more than 40 years in this business,” Indiana Rail Road Company founder, president and CEO Tom Hoback said.
Hoback also explained that such a stunt could have had even worse consequences. Using the emergency brake of the locomotive on the bridge could have taken down the bridge itself, killing the engineer.
The two women were identified by authorities and could be facing charges.
Powell said more than 900 people were killed last year in the U.S. by trespassing on railroads, 28 of which were in Indiana. Find more facts on trespassing laws and railroad safety here.
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