CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – Another deadly crash at a railroad crossing happened in South Charlotte Tuesday morning. CMPD says two people died when a Lynx light rail train struck them.
Officials reported a crash with injuries at East Hebron Street and South Boulevard just after 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Pablo Tiquiram Us, 29, and Jose Tiquiram Us, 20, were walking north on the southbound tracks when CATs Lynx train 317, which was pulling train 306 and heading south, struck the two men.
Both victims were conducting a memorial for Baltazar Us, who was killed by a CATS light rail last week in the same location while driving impaired, officials said.
After the strike occurred, the operator stopped the train. Alcohol impairment is suspected to be a contributing factor for the two pedestrians.
CATS said the LYNX Blue Line used a temporary bus bridge between I-485 and Archdale stations throughout the morning.
Blue Line service returned to normal just before 9 a.m.
Operation Lifesaver North Carolina, a nonprofit whose mission revolves around reducing the number of deaths at rail crossings, says this trend continues because of how distracted people can be.
“People always ask… ‘how do you get hit by a train?’ They’re so loud, they make so much noise, they’re so heavy, they blow their horn,” Operation Lifesaver executive director Margaret Cannell said. “You can’t always depend on hearing a train. They’re much quieter until they get right up on you.”
Many grade crossing deaths have involved the light rail over the years. A notable crash happened at the same crossing as Tuesday’s incident. In that instance, the light rail struck a vehicle that maneuvered around the crossing arms. Cannell says it’s no surprise the train is unable to stop quickly because it’s not designed to.
“For example, the light rail system we have here in Charlotte takes 600 feet. That’s two football fields for a train to come to a stop. By the time they see you, it’s too late,” she said.