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Woman injured by Brightline train after stopping on the tracks

Brightline Florida
A Brightline train departs from MiamiCentral station for the train’s first day of service to West Palm Beach, Fl., Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Miami. Brightline is a privately funded rail service owned by Florida East Coast Industries. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A grandmother has been injured after stopping her vehicle on the tracks of an oncoming Brightline train during the first day back of operations.

The incident occurred  just before 10:30 a.m. Saturday near Northeast Third Street and North Flagler Avenue in Pompano Beach.

Authorities say despite several indications that a train was headed her way, the 71-year-old woman still parked on the tracks:

“She was literally on the tracks when the southbound Brightline train headed her way,” said Sandra King, a spokeswoman for the city. “As she was trying to maneuver the car off the tracks, she didn’t get it off on time, and the train struck the back end of the car.”

Several witnesses ran to the scene to help the woman and her 1-year-old grandson who was in the car with her. The woman was said to have suffered several broken bones but is expected to survive. The child was said to have not sustained any visible injuries.

Brightline president Patrick Goddard, who was on the train at the time stated that all safety protocols were followed:

“What I can tell you is that everything operated as it was supposed to,” Goddard said. “The gates were down, the bells were ringing, the lights were on.”

Goddard went on to say that many people believe they can beat a moving train but that is not the case:

“This is endemic to the entire industry, nationally, internationally, people choose to circumvent the very equipment that’s put in place to protect them. They try to beat trains at grade crossings,” said Goddard.

The Brightline officially resumed services on Monday after shutting down due to the pandemic.  The train was on it’s way from West Palm Beach to the Fort Lauderdale station for a ceremony to mark the resumption of passenger service when the incident occurred.