An 11-year-old Florida girl was killed by an Amtrak train on Wednesday while she was crossing the tracks, Fox News reported.
Yazmin White was walking home from a convenience store and trying to cross over the railroad tracks in Haines City, investigators said, when the conductor on the approaching train saw her.
The conductor blew the horn and began braking the train, but Yazmin apparently did not notice the train approaching, according to Polk County detectives.
“He continuously blew the horn for about a quarter of a mile, all the while he’s trying to stop the train,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said to Fox 13 News. This gave Yazmin less than 30 seconds to respond, investigators said.
The conductor said she was looking down at her phone, and evidence from after the crash showed that she was wearing headphones at the time, detectives said.
The Amtrak train, containing 12 passenger cars and two engines, hit the girl at 68 miles an hour.
“…And never, ever heard the train until the absolute last seconds when she looked up and it was too late and she tried to jump off of the tracks,” Judd said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Amtrak are both reportedly investigating the crash.
“We are completely heartbroken and send our deepest condolences to Yazmin White’s family,” said Judd, to Fox. “This is a tragedy no parent or family should have to go through. Please keep them in your prayers.”
Yazmin, a talented musician, studied piano at the Davenport School of the Arts, where grief counselors were on hand when students returned from winter break, according to Fox 13 News.
“She made a lot of friends, she was very vibrant, and had a lot of energy,” said Davenport School of the Arts principal Brian Keir.
“[We’re] making sure all of our students that have concerns, that their hearts are heavy and broken, we’re providing that support to them here at the school,” said Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd.
“She is going to be greatly missed,” Byrd added. “Greatly missed by the students and the faculty.”
[Image: Polk County Schools]