Girl, 14, dies saving boy from oncoming train

February 22, 1999|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,SUN STAFF

A teen-age Cecil County girl was killed Saturday afternoon when she shoved a young boy from the path of a train in North East and was herself struck by the speeding Amtrak engine, according to state police.

The dead girl was identified by police as Krystle Marie Donlon, 14, of the 400 block of W. Pulaski Highway in Elkton.

Ken Berg, a police communications officer at the North East barracks, said Krystle; her stepfather, Michael Durante, 38; two brothers, ages 10 and 12; and a 5-year-old neighbor were returning from fishing in North East Creek about 3: 45 p.m. when they neared a railroad bridge that crosses the creek.

Tfc. Susan Smith, who investigated the accident, said that when the group neared the tracks, Krystle apparently heard or saw a train approaching and shoved the 5-year-old boy out of the way.

At that instant, Smith said, the southbound Virginian, a multicar passenger electric train bound for Newport News, Va., from Wilmington, Del., was traveling between 90 and 100 mph as it approached the bridge. Apparently, an air suction created by the train pulled Krystle against the train's engine, killing her.

Berg, a train buff, said it's difficult to hear an electric train approaching because they create little noise.

"They travel fast and smooth," he said.

The unidentified 5-year-old, Krystle's brothers and Durante were not injured.

Berg said the engineer was unaware the train struck anyone until he was ordered to stop in Edgewood, where police and Amtrak officials examined the front of the train.

The engineer, whose name was not released, continued to Baltimore, where he was relieved before the train continued to its destination.

Efforts to reach Durante last night were unsuccessful.

Pub Date: 2/22/99

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