Arundel boy, fleeing train, falls to death 2 others get off bridge in time

July 20, 1992

An 11-year-old Anne Arundel County boy was killed yesterday after he ran from on oncoming coal train and tumbled off a railroad trestle into the Patapsco River, Baltimore County police said.

About 5:30 p.m., William David Griffith of the 1600 block of Bedford Road, Ferndale, was walking with his brother and a friend along the tracks in the 200 block of River Road near Oella when a train approached, said Cpl. Jerry Fitch of the county police.

The Griffith boy tried to get out of the way of the train but it "brushed" him, Corporal Fitch said, causing him to fall from the bridge into the river.

But Jay S. Westbrook, a spokesman for CSX Transportation Inc., said a preliminary investigation showed that the injuries did not indicate that the boy was struck by the train.

Mr. Westbrook said the train, made up of three engines and 89 loaded coal hopper cars, was traveling eastbound on a routine run between Grafton, W.Va., and Baltimore, when the incident occurred. The train had just emerged from a tunnel and was rounding a curve when the engineer noticed the boys, he said.

Seeing the train, the boys began running toward the end of the trestle, but the Griffith boy did not make it, and "either fell or jumped from the trestle, in order to prevent being struck," Mr. Westbrook said.

"All indications and evidence is that it was unavoidable, that the crew did everything in their power to stop the equipment, but due to the weight, the train was unable to stop before reaching the young man," the CSX spokesman said.

The boy's neck was broken in the fall, Corporal Fitch said.

The other youths were not injured, he said.

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