Real Estate & Property Law

Will two women who escaped injury when run over by train be prosecuted for trespassing?

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An engineer for the Indiana Rail Road Company thought two women caught on a 500-foot-long, 80-foot-high bridge had been killed when he couldn’t stop his freight train before it ran over them earlier this month.

A company security video published by WTHR shows the two running for their lives on the Shuffle Creek Trestle on July 10, after the train rounds a bend near Lake Lemon, northeast of Bloomington, at around 30 mph.

Although the engineer used the emergency brake, he couldn’t keep the slowing locomotive from overtaking them. At almost the last minute, one lies down on the tracks, between the rails. The second seems to consider jumping off the side of the bridge, then runs in front of the other woman and lies down between the rails, too. Then they disappear from sight as the train rolls over them.

“The engineer threw the train into emergency braking as soon as possible. He had thought he had killed the two people here on this bridge,” says Eric Powell, a railroad company manager, on the video. In what Powell describes as a miraculous development, however, the two women emerged unhurt after the train came to a halt on the other side of the bridge and the engineer had called the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

“When the train stopped, the two women crawled out from under the engine,” recounted Powell, and headed for their parked car. The engineer “yelled back and asked them, ‘Are you okay?’ One yelled she had stubbed her toe, otherwise fine. I’m sure their nerves were as shattered as his were.”

Over 900 people were killed last year as a result of trespassing on railroad property, according to the Indy Channel and Fox 59.

Railroad officials released the security footage as a cautionary example of the danger of doing so and say they want law enforcement to pursue criminal trespassing charges against the women in the July 10 video for the same reason.

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