After two people were hit by trains in Waukesha less than two weeks apart, many people were left wondering how a person could accidentally hit by the train.
Both train accidents involved people who had a physical impairment but still thought they could make it across the tracks in time.
Lauri Ahl appeared to have misjudged the train’s speed when she crossed at White Rock Avenue near Frame Park on Aug. 5, according to Waukesha police. Witnesses reported that Ahl, a frequent walker in the Frame Park area, has a limp.
The other victim, James S. Hart, 56, of Waukesha, was attempting to cross at Arcadian Avenue when he was struck by a 131-car Canadian National Railroad train, according to police reports released on the July 23 accident.
A railroad employee told Waukesha police they saw Hart, who was using a cane to walk, crossing the tracks. The railroad operators sounded the horn and applied the brakes but the train was unable to stop before hitting Hart, according to the police report. The railroad employee was unsure if Hart was trying to beat the train or if he was even aware that train was approaching.
Hart had an abrasion on his right elbow, a cut on his left leg, a broken right femur, tibia and fibula, a shattered left ankle and fractured leg. Hart told a Waukesha police officer multiple times at Froedtert Hospital that his “depth perception” is off and he “thought he had more time,” adding that he heard his legs break, the police report states.
Hart had no memories of the accident, other than he tried to beat train and then was laying on the ground, according to the police report.
The train was traveling from Chicago to Fond du Lac at an estimated 25 mph to 30 mph. Canadian National Railroad was cleared from any wrongdoing in the accident. However, the Waukesha Police Department chose to not cite Hart for his role in the accident.