Neighbors Constantly See People Walk Along Train Tracks Where Woman Died
Just over 24 hours ago, a Burlington Nothern Santa Fe freight train struck two people walking along railroad tracks in Kennewick killing one and injuring another.
Police found 50-year-old Melinda Williams dead underneath the train.
47-year-old Samuel Frank was rushed to Trios Health in Kennewick with a severe arm injury.
Local neighbors said they see people walking on the train tracks all the time, many of whom are kids leaving the local high school on their way home.
Some parents we spoke with said this accident is a wake-up call.
Whether it's kids from Kamaikin High School walking home or even adults taking a short cut to the gas station, neighbors said people use the train tracks as a more convenient sidewalk.
"The only concern I would have is if my 12-year-old granddaughter was up on those tracks," said Pam Gareis. "If you tripped and fell, people get distracted, they don't hear the train and just poof."
But, some parents in the neighborhood said they're okay with their kids using the train track bridge that goes over Canal Dr. because they feel as long as they're coherent, it would be hard to get hit.
"Maybe if somebody got stuck or fell asleep, I could understand but other than that, I mean I've walked across the trestle back there when I went to high school and I've seen kids do it every single day. None of them seem to get hit," said Larry Lockard, a local parent.
A former Kamaikin student said he also often walked along the tracks.
"I always went in times when there weren't any trains coming and I never had a problem," said Darrick Parker.
However, law enforement does want to remind people it's illegal to do so.
"It is a grim reminder that the train tracks are off limits, it is trespassing by federal law to cross them, other than the official crossings," said Sgt. Ken Lattin of the Kennewick Police Department.
"I hope this will put a little bit of the fear of God into them that it's really not safe to be able to do something like that," said Gareis.
The Benton County Coroner's office said it will conduct a toxicology screening on Williams and the Kennewick Police Department said it still investigating what went wrong to create such a tragic outcome.