A scooter driver died when she went around lowered crossing gates and struck a passing Brightline train, the latest in a long string of deaths involving the higher-speed passenger service, officials said Monday.
The Broward Sheriff's Office said the woman was riding a scooter at about 11:20 a.m. Saturday in Pompano Beach when she made a left turn, went around the crossing gates and hit the side of the train. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name and age were not released.
The woman was the 63rd person known to have died in a collision with a Brightline train since it began operations in mid-2017, giving it the worst per-mile fatality rate in the nation, according to an ongoing Associated Press analysis that began in 2019.
Brightline is averaging about one death for every 33,000 miles its trains travel. Among railroads that travel at least 100,000 miles per year, the next worst rate is one death per every 101,000 miles.
Investigators have found none of the earlier deaths were the railroad's fault, determining that many were suicides or drivers or pedestrians trying to beat the trains. The trains travel up to 79 mph through densely populated urban and suburban areas along about 70 miles of track between Miami and West Palm Beach that Brightline shares with the Florida East Coast freight line.
Brightline has increased its efforts to curb deaths, including installing cameras to alert crews if someone is lurking near the tracks and adding fencing and landscaping to make access to the tracks more difficult.
Brightline is completing a line that will connect West Palm Beach and Orlando at speeds of up to 120 mph. It plans to eventually connect Orlando with Tampa. It is also building a line that will connect Southern California and Las Vegas.
Last week saw back-to-back deadly collisions, CBS Miami reported. On Monday in Pompano Beach a man was hit and killed, and his truck was left unrecognizable. Then a day later, a man was hit and killed on Hollywood tracks when his jeep was struck by the Brightline.
Now, Brightline and the Florida East Coast Railway are teaming up with the state, working on a $45,000,000 project to make railroads safer, CBS Miami reported.
Fernando Ramos' son Demitre was killed walking across the train tracks. Nineteen-year-old Demitre left the local YMCA that night to head home, CBS Miami reported.
Ramos spoke to the Hallandale Beach commission, advocating for more safety measures near the tracks.
"Whose child has to die next before it's an issue," Ramos said to the commissioners and mayor. "I'm determined to keep speaking about this if I have to go to the governor of Florida."
for more features.