EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Two people were killed Thursday morning after they were struck by a train.
The accident happened about 3:30 a.m. on train tracks at the James Street crossing, near the HR Evans Steel Company.
The Columbiana County Coroner is working to identify the men, and the circumstances of the accident involving a Norfolk Southern train are still being investigated.
“It’s just crazy. You don’t expect anything like this to happen so close to home,” said Cheryl Johngrass, a woman who lives in the area.
East Palestine Fire Chief Joshua Brown said the train was traveling about 47 miles per hour and was pulling 81 cars. All of the lights and security measures around the train were working at the time of the crash, according to police.Johngrass says while she doesn’t think the crossing is safe, she doesn’t know how the pedestrians weren’t aware of the train.
“How you can’t hear the train or see it, I don’t understand,” she said.
Norfolk Southern said in regard to train safety, it’s best to exercise extreme caution at all times.
“Don’t assume that the train crew can see you. Always respect the right of the train to use those tracks, and it is always the best idea, the safest decision, to stay off of railroad property,” said spokesman Dave Pidgeon.
Pidgeon recommended visiting Operation Lifesaver’s website for safety tips and information involving trains. According to the organization, which works to raise public awareness of train safety, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours.