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Parents want safer railroad crossings accident

Posted at 8:50 AM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-24 08:50:15-04

It seems like everywhere you look in Charlotte, there are train tracks.

Which is why Eric Britz wasn't surprised when he heard a student got hit across the street from his house Tuesday afternoon.

"He's lucky to be alive," Britz said.

According to Charlotte Police, the juvenile male was injured around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday and taken to the hospital.

The superintendent's office from Charlotte Public Schools tells us, they're working through the accident with the student body, and trying to provide the support needed.

But Britz thinks the accident is an example of a bigger problem, because he sees kids walking on the tracks almost every day.

"In Charlotte there's not a whole lot of activity for kids to do, they pretty much just roam the streets freely," Britz said.

Tracks in Charlotte go through sidewalks, backyards, even backing up to a playground, which is why Britz doesn't take any chances with his kids.

"There have been accidents before," Britz said. "A kid died three years ago out here."

In 2013, 16-year-old Matt Wagner was killed on the same tracks, just outside Britz's house.

Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich says parents need to take Tuesday's accident seriously.

"Even if there's not a train coming, in Charlotte alone you may have 30 trains a day," Sheriff Reich said.

He tells FOX 47 News law enforcement does their best to keep kids away, but it's on parents to be the first line of defense.

"Parents need to be teaching their children to stay off the railroad tracks," Sheriff Reich said. "Not only is it illegal, but it's also dangerous."

And his warning is something Britz thinks more parents need to hear.

"Safety comes first," he said, "You have got to be aware of where your kids are and what they're doing at all times."

Walking or riding on train tracks is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, and a $100 fine.

We'll have an update on the victim's condition as soon as we know more.