ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (WFLA) – A two-year-old child died Monday after being struck by a train in Zephyrhills. His 26-year-old babysitter, Heather Henderson, was also hit.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the accident in the area of Pattie Road and Paul S. Buchman Highway. The 2-year-old, Hunter, and his 4-year-old sister were walking by the tracks with the babysitter and an adult male, Cody Williams, investigators said.
“When they realized a train was coming, Williams grabbed the 4 year old girl and jumped off the bridge to safety,” a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said. “Henderson was holding Hunter but was unable to jump out of the way in time. They were both hit by the train.”
The babysitter is in stable condition.
“This is a tragedy. There is no other way to say it. There is a family that is suffering greatly right now more than anyone can imagine,” Pasco Sheriff Nocco said.
The train had 133 cars on it and was traveling around 60 miles an hour.
The area has “no trespassing” signs, but neighbors say that doesn’t keep people away. “They’re down there two and three in the morning shooting their guns, tearing stuff up,” said John Heminger, who lives by the tracks. “If you’re up on the railroad tracks and you can’t hear that train coming from a safe distance then you need hearing aids.”
“It’s a shame that the adults didn’t have better sense,” Heminger added.
Nocco hopes this is a lesson. “I hope everyone in this community (knows) if you have train tracks going through your yard, it’s not a play area,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing, and Nocco said charges are possible. Criminal investigators were at the scene Monday.