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Teenager struck by SunRail train in Orange County, deputies say

Boy pulled shirt over head before being hit, officials say

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – New details released Friday are shedding light on what happened in the moments leading up to when a 15-year-old boy was hit by a SunRail train Thursday afternoon.

Officials with the Florida Department of Transportation said Friday afternoon that video from the train's camera shows the teen walking on the tracks before walking into the train's path.

The boy was seen pulling his shirt up over his head while walking on the tracks, then trying to jump out of the way at the last second and was struck, FDOT officials said.

Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said the boy was still in serious condition Friday afternoon, which has prevented investigators from learning more about the incident. They did confirm that he knew the train was coming, though.

"The victim is unable to talk to us, due to his medical condition, so we do not know his state of mind. However, he was on the tracks and knew a train was coming," Jane Watrel, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, told News 6. "We cannot speculate further and are grateful he was not killed."

Deputies said the boy was struck at about 5:30 p.m. near the Meadow Woods SunRail station, not far from Long Stem Court.

The teen was taken by helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center, officials from Orange County Fire Rescue said.

Several deputies assigned to the downtown courthouse were on the train going home when the accident took place. Those deputies got off immediately to help render aid before emergency crews arrived, Armstrong said.

The boy’s friends told News 6 that a group was playing basketball Thursday night, and the teen was on his way home when he was struck by the train.

There is a fence installed along the corridor to prevent people from trespassing. However, residents said they see kids jump the fence all the time and cut through the train tracks as a shortcut to get to their homes.

"I've been here for 11 years and this has been going (on) all along," resident Zaida Vega said.

Vega said she doesn't believe the incident will prevent children from jumping and that something more should be done.

The southbound SunRail train involved in the incident, train P329, which turns into northbound train P324 in Poinciana, had its routes canceled Thursday evening, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. 

No passengers were injured. Officials said SunRail commuters should expect delays through Thursday night.

FDOT released the following statement after the incident: 

"Safety remains the number one priority of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and SunRail. It is important to note the corridor has fencing in this area. SunRail will continue its overall safety efforts and is working to prevent trespassing on the corridor. SunRail urges everyone to exercise safety and keep one's distance from train tracks. Incidents involving people, vehicles, or debris placed in the path of a train, not only pose a risk to those directly involved, but risk the safety of passengers and crew. Incidents also cause major delays, which affect the entire system and those who count on it every day. Again, please exercise safety around trains and train tracks. Be smart. Be safe."

Check back for more updates on this developing story.

Editor's note: Authorities originally said the victim was a 14-year-old boy, but deputies later said he was 15.


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