Train Kills Local Man

1-15-07

A train collided with a backhoe and instantly killed the operator of that tractor.

Thirty-four-year-old Brian Keith Coleman of Jasper, Florida was hit and killed by a train as he tried to cross Madison County tracks on his backhoe.

Dorothy Ella Smith, a Lee, FL resident, said, "It's really sad, and accidents can happen, but some of them can be avoided just as well as they happen. A train cannot stop as quick as a car."

The collision happened around 9:00 Monday morning in the town of Lee at Southeast Farm Road and U.S. Highway 90. Florida Highway Patrol troopers say Coleman was working nearby with a land clearing business.

Authorities believe Coleman was trying to beat the train while crossing the tracks.

SGT John Haire of the Florida Highway Patrol said, "The train contacted the back of the tractor on the tracks. The tractor was pulled out of the way and the operator of the backhoe was ejected from the backhoe at that time. He was pronounced deceased on the scene by Madison County EMS."

FHP confirmed the 81-car CSZ train applied its brakes. There are railroad crossing signs at that intersection, but there are not flashing signals or crossing arms.

SGT Haire added, "The train did deploy the use of its horns as it began breaking. It traveled approximately a half of mile or so where it came to rest west of the scene."

The train did not derail, but an FHP report shows it sustained $5,000 in damage. CSX is conducting an internal investigation.


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