Train fatalities spike in Colorado Springs - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Train fatalities spike in Colorado Springs

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BSNF train stopped near Bijou and I-25 at the scene of a fatal accident involving a pedestrian June 25, 2017 BSNF train stopped near Bijou and I-25 at the scene of a fatal accident involving a pedestrian June 25, 2017

Six pedestrians have been hit by trains while trespassing on the tracks in Colorado Springs since late June. Five of those people subsequently died of their injuries. The casualties have all occurred with in a three miles stretch of track between Unitah Street near I-25 on the north and Royer Street near Las Vegas Street to the south.

Those five fatalities represent a greater number of deaths in the past 90 days than had occurred in all of El Paso County in the previous five years combined. Two trespassers were struck and killed in August of 2013 and December of 2015 and a railroad employee died in a work related accident in October 2014.

Despite the sudden increase in casualties, Colorado Springs Police do no suspect foul play.  All of the recent incidents reported below have been determined to be either accidents or suicides. 

News 5 visited the six locations where these casualties occurred.  In all but one area the victims would have to make a deliberate effort to trespass onto the right of way.  A man who died September 3 was struck near the level crossing at Royer Street and Las Vegas where there are no fences or elevated bridges to get around.

In Monument Valley Park, there is a 4-5 foot hole in the chain link fence that separates the park from the railroad.  A no trespassing sign nearby has been spray painted over with graffiti and a homeless camp can be seen just a few feet north of the opening.

Patrick Montgomery, who is homeless, said that many transients enter the right of way through that "worm hole" to walk along the tracks as a shortcut for getting around town.

"You can take this as a short cut to anywhere," Montgomery said.

He went on to explain that the trains never travel quickly in the area and are so loud that it would be difficult to imagine someone not hearing them and fleeing the tracks for safety.

"Most of the time they stop here, do whatever they have to do and then start up again."

"Stay off the tracks, stay off the right-of-way," said Joe Sloan, a spokesman for the BNSF Railroad.

He explained in a statement that anyone who does not have a written agreement to be on railroad property is trespassing and can be ticketed if not killed. It takes more than a mile for a train to come to a stop after the emergency break is pulled.

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