ORMOND BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Police say a teenager is dead after being struck by a train in Ormond Beach. Spokesman Keith Walker says the incident happened Sunday night on a trestle bridge behind a restaurant on U.S. 1.
Robert Harris, 18, was sitting on the bridge as the southbound train approached. The conductor blew the whistle and Harris tried to run to safety but tripped. "Once he heard the whistle, he got up and started running away from the train, fell down, got back up continued running and fell again," explained Walker. "At that point, he was struck by the train and killed."
FOX 35 spoke with his grieving mother on Monday, who wanted to let people know what a great kid he was. "He loved his mother. He was a bright, old soul. He had a great sense of humor, and he was bright," said Patricia Best. "Very, very bright. He had a big future."
People who live nearby called 911. "It came to an abrupt stop. I heard a boom, and then I heard the screeching of the wheels," one caller told the dispatcher.
Fellow students from Seabreeze high school are comforting Harris' family. His mom is still in disbelief. "He was a very popular boy with teachers and students, and I, uh, just don't' know how to wrap my mind around the taking of my beautiful 18-year-old boy."
Police and family are not sure why Harris was on the track, which is operated by Florida East Coast Railway.