Two Killed by Train at Memorial for Man Also Killed by Train

Two men in Charlotte, North Carolina were killed by a Lynx light rail train on Tuesday morning during a memorial for a family member who had also been killed by a Lynx train the week prior, according to The Charlotte Observer.

The publication reported that Pablo Tiquiram Us, 29, and Jose Chilambalam Tiquiram Us, 20, were walking north on the southbound tracks when they were struck by a southbound Lynx Blue Line train. Multiple reports said that the operator immediately stopped the train.

Police received a call at 5:10 a.m. that the pedestrians had been hit. When they arrived, they found Pablo and Jose lying near the tracks, and a medic pronounced both victims dead at the scene.

The Charlotte Observer said that the two men were attempting to hold a memorial for Baltazar Tiquiram Us, who had also been killed by a Lynx Blue Line train one week earlier.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) deputies said in a press release that they received a call at 9:50 p.m. on July 26 about a collision involving a Toyota Tundra and a southbound Lynx Blue Line train. Apparently, Baltazar, the driver of the Toyota, "drove around the crossing arms and into the path of the Light Rail train, causing the collision."

CMPD said the train operator sounded the horn while approaching the crossing, and the crossing arms' warning lights were "operational and flashing."

Baltazar was pronounced dead at the scene, and an unnamed passenger was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. None of the four train passengers were hurt.

"People always ask...'How do you get hit by a train?' They're so loud, they make so much noise, they're so heavy, they blow their horn," Margaret Cannell, executive director of non-profit Operation Lifesaver, told Fox 46 Charlotte. "You can't always depend on hearing a train. They're much quieter until they get right up on you."

In addition to trains being quiet, Cannell told the news station that trains aren't designed to make quick stops.

"For example, the light rail system we have here in Charlotte takes 600 feet. That's two football fields for a train to come to a stop," she said. "By the time they see you, it's too late."

According to Operation Lifesaver, there were 42 highway-rail grade crossing collisions in North Carolina in 2020. Of those, there was one fatality and 10 injuries. Statista reported that the U.S. saw 767 railroad fatalities in 2020, a decrease from 862 in 2019.

To prevent injuries or fatalities from occurring at highway-rail grade crossings, Operation Lifesaver reminds people to always assume a track is in use, to never walk on tracks and to always be alert.

Light rail train
Two men in Charlotte, North Carolina, were killed by a Lynx light rail train while attempting to hold a memorial for a man who was killed by a Lynx train one week earlier. Scott Olson / Staff/Getty