MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Forsyth woman was hit by a train while walking on train tracks Tuesday morning.
According the a Bibb County Sheriff’s office news release, 29-year-old Margaret Frances Tucker and a male friend stopped near Hawkinsville Road and Broadway and started walking on some railroad tracks in the area.
When a train approached the couple, the man was able to get off the tracks. Tucker was hit.
Tucker’s friend left the scene and called 911 anonymously.
Train workers used a pick-up truck to get to Tucker. She was in a heavily wooded area that had no roadway. She was then taken to a waiting ambulance. The ambulance took her to Medical Center, Navicent Health, according to Macon-Bibb Fire Captain Mike Wilson.
First responders were at both ends of the train accident scene. Some were on Waterville Road and the others were located near the intersection of Hawkinsville Road and Broadway. explained Capt. Wilson.
Tucker is listed in stable condition.
The train was leaving the Macon yard around 5:25 a.m., going to Savannah, according to Norfolk Southern Director of Corporate Communications, Rick Harris. Harris released the following statement:
“The train crew saw something that appeared to be lying in the gauge of the track between the rail and as the train approached, it became clear to the train crew that there was actually a person lying in the gauge of the track.
Of course the train crew put the train into emergency braking,” said Harris.
“Fortunately the person on the track rose up into a sitting position and did manage to get off the track. But in the process of getting off the track. As the train approached the train did strike the individual ( Margaret Tucker ) and the person as I understand suffered a broken leg and a broken finger. But did survive the incident,” explained Harris.
“She (Tucker) was charged with criminal trespassing,” he added.
“The train was carrying 45 loaded cars, it weighed 7,844 tons and 10,046 feet long, it was powered by four locomotives. The train was going 20 mph,” (when it hit Tucker.) The train along with a couple of other trains on nearby tracks was delayed more than three hours during the investigation,” he continued.
“This was a very remote area. It was not a road crossing the individual arrived by vehicle which was parked nearby on a dirt road. It kind of underscores the danger of trespassing on railroad property. Some people may not realize railroad tracks are private property. If you are on railroad property, and certainly being on a railroad track is on the property. You are not only committing a very dangerous act, you know you’re also violating the law as this woman found out today,” added Harris.
“She (Tucker) was charged with a misdemeanor. But it does highlights the illegality of trespassing on railroad property,” he continued.
“A few tips tracks and trestles, rail yards, and equipment are private property. If you walk, hunt, fish or ride an ATV on tracks you’re trespassing. You could lose your life or be seriously injured,” added Harris.
“I think in this case this person, probably considers herself very lucky that she escaped with few injuries that she suffered. As unfortunate as that is it could have been obviously worse. The only safe place to cross railroad tracks is at a designated public crossing with warning signs posted or signals posted at the crossing,” he explained.
“If you cross at any other place again you are trespassing. You can be ticketed or fined,” he explained. “ People don’t realize also trains actually overhang the tracks by at least three feet on both sides. So if you’re in the right of way next to the tracks you could be hit by the train if you’re standing too close.”
“ I would urge people not to hunt, fish, or bungee jump from railroad trestles. There’s only enough clearance on the tracks for a train to pass,” Harris said. “Do not attempt to hop aboard any railroad equipment at anytime, a slip of a foot could cost you a limb or your life,”
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