BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Video of a near-fatal incident where two women are seen laying across railroad tracks as a locomotive passes over them is prompting officials to remind the public: railroad tracks are private property and very dangerous.
The video was captured on July 10 around 6:50 a.m. on Indiana Rail Road’s viaduct spanning an inlet of Lake Lemon, which is 10 miles northeast of Bloomington. It shows two women trespassing on the middle of the bridge, known as Shuffle Creek Trestle.
Officials say the engineer on the 14,000-ton train first saw the pair sitting on the tracks. The engineer immediately applied the train’s emergency brakes and sounded the horn, but the women reportedly ran toward the opposite end of the viaduct.
The women found themselves with no place to go.
“You know that’s 80 feet off the ground, at the point of where they were on that bridge if they had jumped. If that didn’t kill them, it would have severely injured them,” says Eric Powell with Indiana Railroad, which owns the track and the bridge..
Video shows one woman lay down in between the tracks as the train approached. The second woman nearly fell off the bridge as she laid down between the rails, with the train just 30 feet away.
“In this incident, we had an engineer who thought he had killed 2 people. And he’s going to have that in his memory for the rest of his life,” says Powell.
Officials say as the train passed and later came to a stop, those on board feared the two women had died, though a later search of the tracks found no one.
Officials say the two women escaped and fled in a vehicle. Someone got a license plate of the car they escaped in and the two were identified. Their names have been turned over to police. The women will likely be cited for criminal trespassing which is a misdemeanor. All railroad tracks are private property.
In 2013, 908 people were killed in the United States by trespassing on railroads, with 38 of those deaths in Indiana.
For more information on trespassing laws, and railroad safety and awareness, click here.