A boy in Minneapolis is recovering after losing part of his toe to a train, marking the second time in two months a metro youth has been injured on the tracks. Now, the call for train safety awareness is growing louder.
Police told FOX 9 News a boy was running across the tracks to get home when his foot got stuck in a rail and a train ran over his foot, severing part of his toe; however, the railroad claims the boy tried to jump off a moving rail car.
Despite the conflicting stories, one thing is certainly true: The injury was a preventable one.
"Tragedy -- it's just tragic," said Melissa Standal.
The most recent train accident took place in Minneapolis near Filmore and Broadway streets -- the exact spot where her 15-year-old son, Christopher Hanson, died a year ago.
"Christopher was train-hopping," she explained. "I didn't know he was, and he never came home."
Hanson either fell off the train or was fatally injured while trying to jump on it. A year later, Standal says she can't believe other children are getting hurt.
"I wish he were here every day," she said. "I miss his smile and his laughter."
In August, Marshawn Robinson lost both his feet while playing on the tracks in St. Paul. With another train accident just a month after, Standal says she is redoubling her efforts to educate everyone about how the transportation machines can take a person away from a loving family.
"They look like they are moving slow, but they are not," she cautioned. "Just stay away. It's very dangerous. It kills your family."
Minnesota Operation Lifesaver, an organization educating the state on the dangers of trains, reports that fatal accidents involving trains and pedestrians have gone up 27 percent nationwide since October.
Andy Mielke, a member of the group, shared some tips for parents with FOX 9 News.
"For children, we want to keep it simple," he explained. "Keep it simple and make sure they are aware of the safety impacts."
Mielke recommends discussing the following to illustrate how dangers they are:
- How massive trains are
- The fact that they can't stop quickly
- A train should always be expected on tracks
- Be alert and avoid using any electronics that interfere with hearing when near tracks
Minnesota Operation Lifesaver also does presentations at schools to educate children of all ages about the dangers of trains. More information about the organization can be found below.
- Minnesota Operation Lifesaver for Kids: http://www.safe-a-rooni.org/Trailblazing/OL/
- Minnesota Operation Lifesaver presentations: http://www.mnsafetycouncil.org/OL/presentations.cfm