Woman, 47, hurt after train hits her
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | April 20,2013
BRATTLEBORO — A 47-year-old Brattleboro woman was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., after she was struck by the southbound Vermonter passenger train while walking on a railroad bridge Friday.
Police did not identify the woman, who they said had suffered “significant injuries” in the collision and the 25-foot fall to the rocks below the bridge.
The woman was walking on the West River train bridge, which crosses the river near its junction with the Connecticut River, and next to the Vietnam Veterans Bridge on Putney Road in Brattleboro.
In the past, there has been an encampment of homeless people in the area.
The woman did not fall into the river, as was originally reported to emergency services, according to the police report.
Police said the woman was conscious and talking when emergency services arrived and was first taken to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. She was then airlifted to Darmouth-Hitchcock.
Amtrak officials contacted in New York City said the woman was “trespassing,” on railroad property when she was struck.
The train, which was headed to Washington, D.C., was stopped for about 50 minutes after the incident before being cleared to leave, according to Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds. She added that no one on the train was injured and the train itself was not damaged.
The Vermonter was about a mile from the downtown Brattleboro station at the time of the incident. Train tracks serving the Vermonter were upgraded last year, which allowed Amtrak to boost train speeds in Vermont to a peak of 79 mph.
Brattleboro Police said train operators were interviewed, as well as witnesses to the accident.
Police later issued a statement reminding residents to stay away from railroad tracks.
“Brattleboro Police would like to remind the public that train tracks in Brattleboro are for the exclusive use of trains and train company personnel,” the statement said. “It is unlawful for anyone else to enter onto train company property, including the tracks.”
Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver said she had been informed about the incident, but was waiting for an update from Brattleboro Police on the incident before commenting.