Two Struck By Train In Putnam County, One Dies
Published August 29th, 2013
SATSUMA - A man from Putnam County is dead and his companion badly hurt after they were hit by a train Thursday morning. Investigators believe the couple intentionally lay down on the tracks. But why did they do it? Alcohol and or drugs may have played role for the victims.
Both the man and woman seemed to have been lying down on the railroad tracks before an Amtrak train approached them. Florida Highway Patroltroopers say the train operator activated the horn at the whistle post as it got closer. However the couple attempted to get up when it was too late and the train couldn't stop in time.
Catherine Miller who lives near the railroad said, "I worry about a lot of people's safety cause I see a lot of people on the track but I don't know who they are. And I can't go out there and tell them you can't be on the rail road track."
That's exactly what Stephen Smith and Amanda Harvey of Putnam County were doing moments before they were hit by an Amtrak going Southbound towards Sanford. In fact, they were lying down on the railroad tracks owned by CSX near County Road 309 and US 17 in Satsuma.
According to Florida Highway Patrol the man was killed and the woman was airlifted to UF Health in Gainesville. Railroad tracks are private property. Therefore by being on the right of way, the pedestrians were trespassing.
Sgt. Dylan Bryan with Florida Highway Patrol said, "The information that I received indicated that the conductor did attempt to stop the locomotive and its passenger cars. However unfortunately due to the stopping circumstances of that type of apparatus, it did strike the pedestrians."
Catherine Miller has been living near the railroad tracks for nearly 40 years. The sound of a train is one she never misses. "I don't see why in the world they didn't hear that train coming. Because I can sit on the porch and hear it once the engine gets hear near the crossing... I can hear it blowing all the way down to my house and I live a good ways down the side of the railroad."
FHP says there could be a reason for that, alcohol or drugs. "Blood has been taken and will be sent to the FDLE crime lab for confirmation," Bryan said.
Smith and Harvey were both in their early 30's. Smith suffered a fatal injury after being hit by the front of the train while Harvey is still under critical condition at UF Health, where she is being treated for serious injuries.
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