AMTRAK: Teens play chicken with trains (Video)

Quick Summary

The Tide pod challenge. The ‘Bird Box’ challenge. The Kiki challenge. What’s next? Teens are continuously thinking of new ways to gain approval from their peers by creating and participating in these so-called challenges. But the risks are far greater than the rewards. A mother watched her daughter being picked up and carried into a body bag after being hit by a train from a challenge that prompted teens to test their own speed against a moving train. The AMTRAK Police Department shares this video that illustrates three different stories about the physical and emotional impact of this lethal game.

Florida teens try to outdrive train.

In Florida, four teenagers tried to out-drive a train by driving around the gates at a railroad crossing. One passenger survived and said that they saw the arms of the gates drop down, and that’s when the driver tried to outspeed the train. Unfortunately, the train hit the vehicle throwing it almost 300 feet–the equivalent length of a football field. The three other teens died.

Authorities describe the physical damage of the driver who died while pinned under the car:

“Most of his brain we never found… We had a piece of the top of his brain that was stuck in his clothing, in his hoodie sweater. And the rest of it is somewhere out on that train track.”

California 9th grader tries to outrun train.

James, a 9th grader in Hayward, California, tried to outrun a train. He stood in the middle of the tracks where an oncoming train was 200 yards away moving at 60 mph. The person he was with, Jasmin, pushed him out of the way. In doing so, she was the one who was ran over and killed by the train. James was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

AMTRAK authorities mention in regard to the ones who try to outrun trains:

“these are the kind of people we collect in garbage cans,”

In reality, anyone who participates in these lethal games in any form are the ones collected in body bags and garbage cans. You barely have time to react in such a foolish situation.

Florida teens try to outthink train.

Four Florida teens tried to outthink a train by attempting to surpass the speed of the train with their own car. The mother of the teen driver expresses the emotional impact on her and the families of the other three passengers. Her daughter is gone. Three other families don’t have their loved ones anymore. And two babies are now without their mothers. This was all because they were in a hurry to surpass the train and ended up on the guard rails instead, where the car was crushed on impact and all four teens died at the scene.

The driver’s mother pleas to other drivers: “I used to be guilty of that myself, going around guard rails. Don’t go around the guard rails. Stop, look, and listen.”

AMTRAK officials’ closing statements:

Trespassing on the train tracks isn’t only illegal, it’s stupid. Playing chicken isn’t about cheating death. It’s about cheating life. Don’t let it be your life.

We would like to give a special “Thank You!” to the AMTRAK Police Department for providing us with this video to share in order to keep our communities aware and safe. For more information on how to keep yourself and loved ones safe around trains, check out our other AMTRAK blog that discusses what you should do if you ever find yourself stuck on the train tracks!


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