Stay Off, Stay Away, Stay Alive

Two weeks after an eleven-year-old girl was run over by a train in the Channelview area, safety officials are reaching out to the community to educate parents and children about the dangers of playing on train tracks. Laurie Johnson has more.

The young girl was playing with several friends on a train in the Channelwood neighborhood when she fell under the rail car. One of her legs was completely severed.

"Especially when trains are slow-moving. They figure that it's not really dangerous — 'you know it's pretty slow, I can get out of the way or jump out of the way'. But that's not the case."

Sally Tingle is the executive director of Texas Operation Lifesaver, an organization that educates the public about rail safety.

"The Houston area, being the fourth largest city in the country of course, is going to have a large number — a big number of train tracks, train track miles, and they're going to be located right in the metro area, which does make it more of a challenge because the train tracks are there, the communities are there, the schools, the kids."

And kids, especially in middle and high school, are often looking for risky or dangerous things to do.

HPD Officer Jack Hanagriff works with the Federal Railroad Administration.

"We teach kids how to cross the street. We teach kids how to stay away from strangers. And if you're in a community or a neighborhood that has railroad tracks that you need to stay away from them."

Operation Lifesaver and Union Pacific Railroad are holding a community education meeting at 6:30 tonight in Spanish and English at Channelview High School.

Hanagriff says when it comes to trains and train tracks, remember this: Stay Off! Stay Away! Stay Alive!

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...