Coroner pushes for reduction in train track deaths - FOX Carolina 21

Coroner pushes for reduction in train track deaths

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Coroner Rusty Clevenger will use grant money to educate the public about railroad safety in light of recent fatalities (FOX Carolina) Coroner Rusty Clevenger will use grant money to educate the public about railroad safety in light of recent fatalities (FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Upstate coroner wants to cut back on the number of people hit by trains in the area. The stats are alarming: Nationwide every three hours a person or car is hit by a train, and it can take a train going 55 miles per hour more than a mile to stop.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said things need to change. 

"We are going in a wrong direction as far as pedestrians are concerned in Spartanburg County as it relates to deaths on the rail," said Clevenger, who just investigated the death of a young man on the tracks last weekend. Robert Lee Davis, III was killed after he was struck by a freight train. 

Statistics from the Federal Railroad Administration show Spartanburg County ranks first in the number of pedestrians killed or injured on tracks in South Carolina - and many don't know it is against the law the cross tracks at non-designated areas, said Susan Terpay, a spokeswoman from Norfolk Southern. 

"More than 900 people die every year," said Terpay. 

Clevenger added the newer trend of people taking photographs and portraits on train tracks is illegal, and could get you fined.

"Even taking a photo, you are taking your life in your own hands," he said. 

Using a $2,000 grant from Norfolk Southern, Clevenger said he hopes to educate the public in Spartanburg County about rail safety. He said the grant can also purchase new equipment for rail investigations when accidents happen. 

'Police officers and law enforcement in general are going to be made aware of what it looks like to be on a train and people not heeding the horn or the lights - the warning devices on the train - to see how often that occurs," he said. 

In 2014 two women in Indiana barely escaped with their lives after a train ran over them. They were able to duck in the center of the tracks and the train barely missed them. 

Officials with Norfolk Southern said illegally crossing a train track could get you a fine of $500. 

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