South Florida

Brightline train hits and kills woman day before its public debut

A pedestrian in Boynton Beach was killed Friday night by a Brightline train, the day before it debuted on its Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach run.
A pedestrian in Boynton Beach was killed Friday night by a Brightline train, the day before it debuted on its Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach run. emichot@miamiherald.com

A woman was hit and killed by a Brightline train in Boynton Beach Friday, as the train gave preview rides to government officials and members of the media.

The incident comes just one day before the train line launches its first public run between downtown Fort Lauderdale and downtown West Palm Beach — a 33-minute nonstop ride.

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A spokesman for the private rail line said in a statement: “Brightline’s team is cooperating with local authorities. This is a tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We continue to stress safety and the adherence to the rules and laws in place around active railroads.”

“We are still looking into the matter and it is still under investigation,” said Mike Reininger, Brightline’s executive director.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the train struck the woman at about 6:25 p..m. when it was traveling north on the Florida East Coast Railway.

Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Jaclyn Smith told the news outlet that it was still unclear how the woman got on the tracks and that though there were people on the train, there were no other injuries.

It’s possible that those passengers were politicians and reporters. On Friday, Brightline gave government officials and media personnel a preview of the soon-to-come commute.

The train made an abrupt stop as it traveled on the railway, one passenger told the Sun Sentinel, adding that they were waiting on the tracks for about two hours. According to the news outlet, an employee told passengers that there had been a “trespasser incident.”

The death is being investigated by Boynton Beach police. Phone calls from the Miami Herald late Friday weren’t immediately returned.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

Brightline launched its first train route from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, bringing new commuting options that the rail line said will alleviate traffic hassles for commuters.

Monique O. Madan: 305-376-2108, @MoniqueOMadan

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