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February 10, 2011

Man hit by train was wearing headphones

A man who was struck and injured by a train at Halethorpe Thursday -- interrupting or delaying Amtrak and MARC service about midday -- was wearing head phones as he crossed the tracks and failed to hear the oncoming Acela Express, according to Baltimore County police.

The victim -- described by Amtrak  spokeswoman Danelle Hunter as a white male "trespasser" of about 30 -- was taken to Maryland Shock-Trauma Center. Lt. Robert O. McCullough, the county police spokesman, said the man was still alive late Thursday afternoon.

Hunter said the Washington-to-New York Acela train, with 121 passengers aboard, was  held at the scene for more than an hour after the 11:27 a.m. incident. Maryland Transit  Administration spokesman Terry Owens said two MARC Penn Line trains were delayed.

Baltimore County Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Armacost said the call came in at 11:41 a.m. and the victim was taken by ground to Shock-Trauma.

The victim is the second person in Maryland to have been struck by a train while wearing headphones in just over a year. In January 2010, 14-year-old Anna Marie Stickel was hit by an Amtrak train at Middle River while walking along the tracks and listening to music. She was killed.

In Halethorpe, there is a pedestrian bridge at the MARC station on Southwestern Boulevard. But local residents say it is not unusual for people to cross the tracks at ground level to avoid the steep climb.



Posted by Michael Dresser at 5:05 PM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Amtrak/intercity railroads


If this guy was hit by a train on Thursday (today), wouldn't he had been alive late Wednesday (yesterday)? Does the sun have any editors still on the payroll?

Darwin Awards committee on line two......

I heard a report about this where the spokeswoman from Amtrak called this poor peron a "trespasser". OK. Say that internally, but publicly try to show some compassion for this person that was HIT BY A TRAIN! Geez.

Jen, you don't seem to understand that it is really easy to avoid being hit by a train. Wait on the side for the train to pass in front of you. Then after it passes, you can cross the tracks safely. Maybe the tragedy here is greater public ignorance.


By calling the victim a trespasser, they are discouraging the behavior. If they called this an accident, that would imply that it was an unavoidable event and that it would be ok for the next person to cross the train tracks in that place again. This person was wrong to cross the tracks at that place (and in front of the train). This was not a pedestrian in a crosswalk. This was a trespasser.

You see idiocy at the Halethorpe station. One day a couple years ago a latter-day Vanilla Ice type was letting some young kids run and play on the tracks while he stood majestically some distance away in his ornate hoodie, smoking and chatting on a cellphone. A number of people getting off a northbound train spoke up, and then one Madea-like commuter stepped up and tore him a new one, something to the effect of "Trains go through here hundred miles an HOU-er! You want to pick up pieces of your little babies off the tracks?" That finally got his attention. Wonder if she was packing heat.

Poor Person? He is, at best, a dumbass. Wait, sorry, he WAS, at best, a dumbass. First off, he is wearing headphone while walking in a dangerous area. Now, tell me, how loud would be listening to his "music" to NOT hear a train? I am sure it wasn't at a reasonable level. He also was TRESPASSING. He crossed railroad tracks, at grade, where he shouldn't be. He could have used a bridge but that was too difficult.

He wasn't a "poor person." He was an idiot who got what one gets when one is stupid.

@Jen, have compassion on someone who was injured while committing a crime? Do I have compassion on the dumb criminals who get caught in the heating ducts of jewelry stores and have to be cut out? No. Do I have compassion on someone who breaks into a house and falls down the stairs?

I have compassion for the 121 people on the train who had to be late to work in a world where people get laid off for the slightest infractions, or now have to make up that time and take time away from their families to compensate for the time lost to this jerk trespassing and being stupid.

^^^^And who was at fault for getting hit by the train??? That's right the TRESPASSER! So tired of people blaming Amtrak for this stuff. If the TRESPASSER wouldn't have been on property where he didn't belong then the TRESPASSER wouldn't have been hit by the train. Why is the person a poor person. Because they are stupid?? Geez.

How's that????

Jen and others,
The presumed intent of the Amtrak spokeswoman was to impress, ONCE AGAIN, the common-sense fact that walking upon a railroad track is, indeed, trespassing, just as if you were to go walking down the beam of Disney World's monorail or down the middle of I-95. Aside from a child that wanders away from a parent/guardian or a mentally incapacitated person that should not be out unaccompanied in public, there is literally no excuse for ending up in a position on the tracks where a train can strike you. It's not like a train can run out of its way to run you over (well, it can; it's called a derailment--but this train did not derail.....).

I always hear people saying "have compassion for the departed" after one of these accidents on a railroad. I'm sorry, but if you pull the moral equivalent of bicycling down the middle of the runway at BWI Airport with headphones on, you are asking to be removed from the gene pool. In fact, I have to think twice about actually calling such an event an "accident."

We should ban headphones, obviously they kill. In fact, we should require people to have permits to carry headphones and then make those permits impossible for the average honest person to obtain like concealed carry permits.

As former Sun reporter David Simon wrote in his fine 1991 book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, this trespasser was probably from "the shallow end of the gene pool."

You would think getting hit by a train would be deterrent enough. I think the trespasser talk is unnecessary, especially in the absence of a conviction.


Anyone walking along or across the RR easement is a Trespasser. It's important to state that because the RR needs people to understand that they are not allowed to be walking on, across or adjacent to the tracks, EXCEPT at official crossings. The Railroads will prosecute trespassers when found.

I was on the train when it came to a screeching halt. I am very confused. How the HECK do you get hit by a train and survive?

I was on the Acela too -- did this guy actually survive or did he pass away at the hospital?


what is the conclusion? Do not wear headphones.

They should fine him $500 for trespassing. Also if he didn't have headphones on, he would have survived the impact.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.

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