Train hits Isanti Co. woman walking near tracks listening to music with earbuds

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2013 - 2:28 PM

A 19-year-old woman, wearing earbuds and listening to music while walking near railroad tracks, failed to hear the pleas of friends with her and was struck by a train in Isanti County.

A 19-year-old woman, wearing earbuds and listening to music while walking near railroad tracks, failed to hear the pleas of two friends with her and was struck by a 96-car train in Isanti County, authorities said.

Elena Bayerl, who lives near the city of Isanti, was in critical condition Thursday afternoon from being hit by the freight train shortly after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday just south of Isanti, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Chris Caulk said, “First of all, it’s dangerous to walk along the railroad tracks, and actually it’s trespassing.”

The BNSF train was made up of two locomotives, 23 cars with cargo and 73 that were empty, said rail spokeswoman Amy McBeth. It was heading from the Twin Cities to Superior, Wis., McBeth said.

According to the sheriff’s office:

Bayerl and two men, ages 20 and 21, were walking north along the tracks between South Passage and 273rd Avenue NE. Bayerl was walking just beside and on the west side of the rails.

The men noticed the train behind them and started to yell at Bayerl, “but she did not hear them or the train whistle [because she] was wearing earbuds and listening to music,” the sheriff’s office statement read.

The two males tried to run up and grab Bayerl, “but they were too late,” the statement continued. Neither man was hurt.

After Bayerl was struck, the train stopped, and the crew cooperated with authorities, the sheriff’s office added.

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