Renewed warnings after Polk student seen jumping through moving train in Mulberry

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Facebook post leads to a warning at Mulberry Middle School after a student is seen jumping through a moving CSX train on his way home from school.

“I don’t know if I would have been able to live with myself seeing something happen with those kids,” said Gloria Potts, a mother who saw it happen.

Potts said she honked her horn when she saw other kids getting ready to follow the student through the moving train.

She saw them throwing rocks at the train too.

“Anything could have caused the train to derail,” she pointed out.

She took pictures of the aftermath and posted to social media. Parents commented that it’s an ongoing problem at the school.

8 On Your Side showed Polk County Public Schools representatives the Facebook post.

As a result, Mulberry Middle School staff made an announcement reminding students to be careful around tracks.

Students involved in the incident were spoken too and their families were notified.

“It’s my understanding that deputies who patrol Mulberry will be monitoring this area to make sure students are safely crossing,” wrote Jason Geary, a media relations coordinator for Polk County Public Schools.

The 8 On Your Side crew did not see any officials or supervision near the railroad tracks when school got out Thursday at around 4pm.

However, kids were seen walking on the railroad tracks.

CSX, which owns the tracks and the train, wrote in a statement that a person or a vehicle is struck by a train every three hours.

“We remind the public that railroad tracks are private property and trespassing on railroad property is extremely dangerous and illegal. Violators will be prosecuted, and they risk the possibility of serious, even fatal, injury,” wrote a CSX spokesperson in a statement.

“Bottom line is don’t ever chance it. There’s nothing, and I mean nothing, more important than life and safety. Don’t push it.,” said Brian Rick, communications specialist at Florida Department of Transportation in Bartow.

The Florida DOT partners with Operation Lifesaver to spread awareness about railroad safety.

Operation Lifesaver ranks Florida as third when it comes to trespassing casualties on railways in 2018.

Last year, 33 people were killed and 25 injured from trespassing railroad tracks, according to Operation Lifesaver.

“That train is something you never want to get too close to when it’s moving. Keep at least 50-60 feet away to be safe,” said Rick.

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