CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – A Monroe Middle School student was hit and killed by a train Tuesday night, according to Monroe police, who are actively investigating the incident.
Police say they found 13-year-old Carlos Rodriguez dead on the railroad tracks.
The initial investigation determined he was hit by a train, but not at a specific train crossing.
A release sent out by the City of Monroe said the student left his home at 5:40 p.m. Police say as they were wrapping up the death investigation on scene, a call came across the system for a call put out involving a missing teen boy whose descriptions fit those of Rodriguez. They said through that call, they went to the Rodriguez home and were able to connect with the boy’s family for a positive identification that Carlos was the teen who had been struck and killed.
Through family and the train operator’s statements, police believe Rodriguez’s death was accidental. They say the teen often enjoyed walking along the train tracks, and when the train approached Tuesday evening, they believe Carlos thought the train was on the opposite side of the tracks he was walking on. Detectives also said the train was not traveling at an unusual high rate of speed.
“This is a very sad situation,” said Monroe Police Chief Bryan Gilliard. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family, friends and classmates during this very difficult time.”
Friends and students at Monroe Middle said Carlos will be missed dearly and that he was an exceptional soccer player. Students also offered their thoughts and prayers for the Rodriguez family during this difficult time.
Union County Public Schools have made extra support available for students as well as staff and have extra counselors available for those in need.
Monroe police will continue to conduct interviews with potential witnesses as they piece together what led to the accident. Detectives say the tracks are operated by CSX and each train has cameras on it. They said the next step of the investigation will be reviewing that footage for further details and they plan to review the video in the coming days.
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