Man walking on tracks struck by Brightline in Indian River County


INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A man walking on the railroad tracks was struck and killed by a 110-mph northbound Brightline train late Monday, sheriff’s officials said. This is the first fatality involving Brightline to occur in Indian River County, sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. Kevin Jaworski said.

“At 9:59 p.m., a conductor with Brightline called into 911 stating that the train struck a pedestrian trespassing on the tracks,” Jaworski said.

Sheriff’s officials identified the man as 29-year-old Wesley Alan Ducheneaux. The crash occurred directly east of the 1800 block of Old Dixie Highway Southwest in south county.

Sheriff’s deputies and Indian River County Fire Rescue found Ducheneaux’s body about 300 yards north of the railroad crossing at Highland Drive Southeast, Jaworski said. Jaworski said the man lived in the area just to the south off Old Dixie Highway.

“Currently the medical examiner’s office as well as our crime scene and detectives are working the scene,” Jaworski said early Tuesday. No one aboard the train was hurt.

There are no crossings where the crash occurred. The land surrounding the tracks – which are Florida East Coast Railway Property – are mostly trees in a wooded area.

Jaworski said the privately-owned high-speed railway line hauled in a second train to the area to transfer the passengers off of the train involved in the crash. There were 61 passengers on the train at the time of the collision, Jaworski said.

To the north in Melbourne, there were two other fatal crashes that occurred just days apart at the same crossing earlier this month. Witnesses told news outlets that the motorists in the separate incidents drove around the lowered guardrails and were struck by the fast-moving Brightline train. A man was killed in one crash, and a woman and a man in the other.

There are no stops in Indian River County for the train, which runs from Orlando to Miami.

The six stops are Miami, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Orlando. The high-speed railway travels up to 125 mph, zipping passengers 235 miles from south Florida to central Florida in about three hours, according to the company website.

Brightline began testing the trains in July by riding them through the Treasure Coast in anticipation for its new Orlando station, which finished construction last April and officially opened in September. Before then, Brightline passengers were limited to commuting on the high-speed railway only in south Florida.

The crash remains under investigation.

Photos provided by Indian River County Sheriff’s Office


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