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Police ID high school student struck, killed by Norfolk Southern train

Posted at 5:03 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 17:14:16-05
BoyKilledByTrainFamilyPhoto

Henry De la Cruz

PETERSBURG, Va. — Police have released the name of the 15-year-old boy struck and killed by a train Tuesday morning in Petersburg.

Officers were dispatched to the 2300 block of Buckner Street in the east Walnut Hill community after a report of a person hit by a Norfolk Southern freight train just before 10 a.m.

Officials said Wednesday that detectives found the body of 15-year-old Henry De la Cruz of Petersburg.

“It was determined that the juvenile was walking on the train track and did not respond to emergency sirens. Although the investigation has not yet fully concluded, it is not expected that any charges will be filed against the conductors of the train.

We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of everyone involved in the tragic accident. This is the second train accident in Petersburg this year and while the first incident did not result in a fatality, we remind the community be aware of the dangers of moving locomotives,” Esther Hyatt, spokeswoman for Petersburg police said in a news release.

Norfolk Southern Corp. spokeswoman Susan Terpay said Tuesday that De la Cruz was reported to have been wearing ear buds at the time of the accident and that the conductor sounded the train’s horn to alert the teen, but that the train was not able to stop in time.

Both Norfolk Southern and Petersburg Police are investigating the incident which involved an eastbound Norfolk Southern train with three locomotives and 16 rail cars.

Officials at Petersburg High School said De la Cruz was a student at the school.

As a result, grief counselors will be on hand at the school for students and staffers.

"Petersburg Schools extends our deepest condolences to Henry's family, and our students and staff during this difficult time," Johna Vazquez, Acting Public Information Officer for Petersburg Public Schools.

Neighbors told senior reporter Wayne Covil they often see people walking up and down the train tracks. Those neighbors also said Amtrak passenger trains use the tracks where the person was killed. It is unknown at this time what, if any, impact the incident would have on train travel through Virginia.

Petersburg neighbors said they often saw people walking on the train tracks. (PHOTO: Wayne Covil)

Petersburg neighbors said they often saw people walking on the train tracks. (PHOTO: Wayne Covil)