Mattie Aikens watched Sanford police for hours as they photographed and hung crime-scene tape along the train tracks near her house.
Many in the Sanford neighborhood use those tracks daily to cross from Academy Manor to the Goldsboro neighborhood. It was something Aikens, 37, did nearly every day as a child.
Police say a teenage boy, whom they identified as 13-year-old Marcees Kilpatrick, was hit by a SunRail train while walking his bicycle near the tracks during rush hour Friday evening.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I don’t think these kids know how fast these trains can get,” Aikens said. “It’s just awful and devastating to hear it was a child. I can’t imagine what the parents are going through.”
The crash happened about 5:45 p.m. near Dixie Way and Historic Goldsboro Boulevard, across from Crooms Academy of Information Technology, police said.
Police say the boy lived in the neighborhood and about to cross the tracks when he was clipped by the side of the train.
“It’s very tragic and unfortunate,” said Bianca Gillett, a Sanford police spokeswoman. “…It’s always recommended that no one walk on the tracks.”
As they investigated the crash, police shut down the tracks, which are surrounded by homes in a close-knit neighborhood full of children riding their bicycles and playing basketball.
It caused heavy delays in SunRail service as riders were bused to other stations.
“Wow. That’s just awful,” said Belinda Davis, who lives next to where the accident happened.
“There are always a bunch of kids out here playing, and people — even adults — use those tracks to cross,” she said.
The SunRail train had about 60 passengers aboard, none of whom were injured, police said.
Residents in the neighborhood said the trains pass through very fast, which some say is dangerous for children crossing for school. Some suggested SunRail should add signs or have the trains slow down as…