A man was seriously injured yesterday afternoon when he was struck by a northbound CSX freight train while crossing railroad tracks in Laurel, emergency and railroad officials said.
The victim, who was not named, was hit about 2:50 p.m., said Jim Collins, a spokesman for the Laurel Police Department, which is investigating the incident. The man was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.
Pedestrian use of the area where the man was struck - a double stretch of tracks between Old Bowie Road and Main Street - is not unusual, Collins said. Two men who were sitting on the tracks and drinking alcohol were struck and killed last year, and a third was injured.
Collins said police have met with CSX officials to discuss the problem of trespassers and will post signs in Spanish along the tracks to inform pedestrians - many of them Hispanic - that it is against state law to cross railroad tracks anywhere but at an official crossing.
Jane Covington, a spokeswoman for CSX, said the incident caused a two-hour delay for freight traffic as the tracks were temporarily shut down for emergency personnel and investigators. The train that hit the man was hauling fresh orange juice from Florida to New Jersey.
MARC Camden Line trains were delayed up to 30 minutes.