By Al Novack, Steve Beck, Walt Hunter
DARBY, Pa. (CBS) – An 11-year-old boy is hospitalized after being struck by a train in Delaware County Tuesday morning.
The incident happened at about 7:45 a.m. at 6th and Main Streets in Darby.
The child is now in critical condition at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
As bells rang, crossing gates dropped, and warning lights flashed, Birdie Biera suddenly spotted an 11-year-old boy cutting across the tracks, in front of an approaching CSX freight train.
“When I looked up, I seen a red and blue shirt run, and by the time the train stopped, he was all the way down there, the body,” said Biera.
“He just laid back like this, and I said oh my God, somebody got to call 911,” said eyewitness Arleen Reid.
The impact left the 11-year-old unconscious, critically injured along the rails, as friends who had been walking with him watched, horrified.
“His friends were all over here,” said eyewitness Brad Ehly. “There was a little five-year-old girl and another little kid that were screaming, of course, so, yeah it is scary.”
This memorial, just a few feet away, marks the spot where two weeks ago – to the day – a woman died after being struck by a train at the same crossing – a crossing where neighbors point out crossing gates fully restrict vehicular traffic, but only partially block pedestrians. These pedestrians after a train had passed, simply walking around the gates before they were lifted.
“They had no extension on the gates to cover the sidewalks, and when gates come down, the sidewalks are still clear,” said Ehly.
But perhaps the best solution to preventing more tragedies here, some neighbors believe, a united effort to remind everyone of train crossing danger.
“We need to get the word out definitely. CSX does, we do, the parents, the mayor, everybody needs to get the word out to stop playing on these tracks,” said neighbor Trish Clifton.
In response to CBS 3 inquiries, CSX has issued the following statement:
“Today’s accident is a sad reminder that this effort must continue. Importantly, our thoughts are with the youngster who was injured this morning along with his family and friends.
In the past several years, CSX has helped conduct a safety awareness campaign in the community that included handing out material to people and a visit to a local school. CSX is certainly willing to work on a similar program in Darby in the future.
In the meantime, we would remind people to exercise caution when around railroad tracks.”
The incident remains under investigation.