Second person killed by Brightline train in less than a week

Man fatally struck in Boynton Beach Wednesday

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - A man was killed Wednesday by a Brightline train in Boynton Beach, officials said.

The man was riding a bicycle when he was struck by the train before 5 p.m. the 400 block of Ocean Avenue, said Stephanie Slater, a spokeswoman for the Boynton Beach Police Department. 

Slater advised people to avoid the area.

"Local authorities are on the scene, and we are engaged with them as they begin their investigation," a spokesperson for Brightline said.

This is the second time someone has been killed by a Brightline train in Boynton Beach in less than a week.

A Brightline train struck and killed Melissa Lavell, 32, near Northeast Sixth Avenue and Boynton Beach Boulevard on Friday -- a day before the train line debuted its limited service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

Boynton Beach police said Lavell went underneath a safety gate and crossed the tracks as a train was coming.

Two people were also killed during Brightline testing last year.

In July, a Brightline test train, operating on the mainline for signal testing, hit and killed an 18-year-old female on the tracks north of NW 20th Street in Boca Raton. Officials ruled the death a suicide.

On Nov. 2, a 35-year-old Jennifer Reed was killed in Deerfield Beach when she was hit by a northbound train.

The train, which can travel at speeds up to 79 mph, will begin service to Miami later this year. 

The company plans to eventually connect its South Florida stops to Orlando.

Meanwhile, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, wrote to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Tuesday requesting that the Department of Transportation investigate the Brightline accidents.

"In Florida, we have seen the challenges of addressing grade crossing safety, where according to 2016 data the state is in the top 10 for fatalities and collisions," Nelson said. "Tragically, this trend is continuing with two recent fatalities in Boynton Beach involving the Brightline high-speed train."

This is a developing story.

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