Teen Killed by Train Prompts Florida Community to Address Pedestrian Safety
Avon Park, Florida – In the wake of a tragic incident where a teenager lost his life while crossing railroad tracks, the city of Avon Park is now actively exploring measures to improve safety for pedestrians navigating these tracks.
The unfortunate event occurred when 13-year-old Malik Pearson was struck and killed by an Amtrak train while walking home from school.
City officials, together with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, are collaborating to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Avon Park Mayor Garret Anderson expressed his deep sorrow, stating, “This is one of the worst tragedies that we’ve had in a very long time.
And this sort of thing just doesn’t really happen in small-town America.”
The focus now lies on finding viable solutions to prevent similar accidents in the future.
Avon Park city staff has been in contact with CSX, the company that owns the railroad crossing, to initiate necessary changes.
Mayor Anderson emphasized the need for improved safety measures, including a potential schedule adjustment for train traffic and the installation of crossing gates for sidewalks.
Considering the proximity of the incident to a school, Mayor Anderson also highlighted the presence of several other educational institutions in Avon Park.
He expressed concern for younger students who may face similar risks while crossing the tracks, stating, “There are several other schools in Avon Park, and I’m sure there are younger kids as well.”
While advocating for proactive vigilance, Mayor Anderson urged the community to watch out for one another.
He acknowledged that even with safety precautions in place, personal attentiveness is crucial in avoiding accidents.
“You know, we can have all the guards in the world.
You can have someone standing there right beside you.
But if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing, you’re always going to be putting yourself in danger.”
Although the implementation of safety enhancements may require time and collaboration with relevant authorities, Mayor Anderson assured the public that every effort would be made to protect pedestrians in Avon Park.
The city is reaching out to both CSX and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to explore all available options and ensure the best possible safeguards are put in place.
As Avon Park mourns the loss of young Malik Pearson, the tragic incident has compelled the community to confront the issue of pedestrian safety near railroad tracks.
The city’s collective determination is fueled by the belief that no student or resident should face unnecessary danger while traversing these crossings.