Just after 8:00 am Wednesday, Antioch Police and Contra Costa County Fire responded to a report of a person who was struck by a freight train in the 100 block of I Street. The person was deceased on scene.
According to Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the freight train could not avoid the person who moved in front of the train as it approached. The incident stopped all train traffic on the tracks in both directions while shutting down a portion of I Street and Waldie Plaza as police and BNSF investigated the incident near the AMTRAK station. In a statement by Lena Kent, spokesperson for BNSF, she the incident is still under investigation and they are unable to confirm if this was an accident or a suicide.
Although local residents said they know the victim, police or BNSF have not released any information about the victim or their identity.
The Antioch Police Department referred all questions on this investigation to BNSF as they have jurisdiction along the railroad tracks.
ANTIOCH — A teenager was killed Wednesday by a freight train in Antioch while on her way to visit a spot near where her friend died the same way less than three months earlier. The incident happened near the Antioch Marina about 9:10 a.m., when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train traveling from Texas to Oakland struck a girl on the tracks 200 feet east of L Street, BNSF spokeswoman Lena Kent said. The victim is a 17-year-old student who would have been a senior at Antioch’s Prospects High School.
Officials did not release her name. Burlington Northern will investigate the incident, but does not expect to release any information this week, Kent said. Antioch police were also investigating.
By midafternoon the only officials spotted at the scene were a handful of BNSF employees, including one who was guarding the tracks near the spot where the victim was still lying, all but hidden by long grass. Friends and acquaintances of the girl had gathered in a nearby parking lot, among them 17-year-old Annastasia Kimmons, who considered the victim one of her best friends. She said her friend had called her Wednesday morning and mentioned that she was planning to visit the spot where a friend of hers had been killed by an Amtrak train in April. “She told us she was going to visit Jesse,” Kimmons said, referring to Antioch resident Jesse Millard-Morris, 20, who was riding a bicycle north across the tracks at L Street when the collision occurred.
However her friend died, “I know she wouldn’t do this on purpose,” Kimmons said, noting that the two of them were planning to attend a birthday party Friday. William Millard, 20, gazed at the site, contemplating the irony of another train killing a friend who had come to pay her respects to his brother. “That’s what I trip on, that I can’t get out of my head,” he said. Morris’ parents, David and Kathy, were among those around the accident scene Wednesday trying to find out what happened.
Unfortunately, Kathy Morris said, there are a lot of children and families who live on boats in the area. Further, David Morris said, the trains should be required to travel slower through the area. “My condolences just goes out to the family of whoever that is. No parents should have to deal with that,” he said.
The train was 5,715 feet long — just over one mile — and carrying various kinds of cargo.
It was traveling under the 60-mph speed limit in that area, Kent said.
The girl was walking down the center of the track when the train’s engineer spotted her, and although he applied the emergency brake and sounded a warning whistle, she didn’t turn around, Kent said. “A train that size going 55 miles per hour can take a mile, or 18 football fields, to stop,” Kent said. “Unfortunately, by the time they see you, they’re not going to be able to stop the train in time.” Reach Sean Maher at 925-943-8013, Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164 and Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141.
One struck and killed by freight train in Antioch