Wellington teen killed by train was ‘distracted by small electronic device’


A few railroad crossing in Wellington remained closed on the night of Feb. 9, 2015, after a 16-year-old girl was struck and killed by a train. (Photo: Daryl Orr)

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WELLINGTON, Colo. -- Investigators in Larimer County believe a 16-year-old, struck and killed by a train on Monday evening, was listening to music at the time.

Though most people know that trains are notoriously loud, they’re not always obvious even with flashing lights, crossing arms and bells.

Richard Fay is the President of Fay Engineering Corporation. They do accident reconstruction. He said, "The sound is not projected forward on the tracks and it can be counteracted by wind and other environmental noise."

Not to mention human distraction like cell phones and ear buds.

"Those people are distracted and they're more likely to not see, hear or know that something dangerous is coming their way,” said Dr. Chris McStay the Chief of Clinical Operations for the Emergency Room at CU Hospital.

Investigators believe Torrey Archibald was listening to music when she was stuck. People in the area said they could hear the train breaking hard. Gary Raham said, "I heard the train come down the track and it was making an unusual amount of noise the air horns were blasting and so on.”

But Torrey was walking away from the train on the tracks so Fay said by the time the conductor saw her and by the time she heard the horns, it was likely too late. "Trains cannot stop for pedestrians or automobiles,” he said.

Distracted pedestrians are becoming a bigger and bigger issue Fay said.

Statistics seem to back that up. "One in five kids, the ages 15-19, when we've done studies looking at them cross the street ... one in five are actually distracted in some form,” said Dr. McStay. "To be listening to ear phones or ear buds, to be on their phone or iPhone," he said.

Both said in order to prevent tragic accidents like this one in the future, pedestrians need to be completely aware of their surroundings at all times.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to benefit the family, under the name Torry Randolphs.

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