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Man walking on tracks hit by Amtrak train in Tampa

TAMPA — A man walking down the railroad tracks Wednesday near N 50th Street became the third person from the Tampa Bay area killed by a train in less than a month.

The man was walking about 1:30 p.m. in an area between a railroad yard and businesses when a Miami-bound Amtrak passenger train bore down, blowing its whistle, police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said.

The tracks were likely vibrating strongly under the man's feet, but he kept walking and the train hit him.

"We don't know why he didn't move," Davis said.

The man was dragged beneath the locomotive and came to rest under the fifth car, where his body remained for more than an hour as police investigated.

Family members of Colbey Price, 26, of Seffner, said Wednesday night they believe he was killed on the tracks.

"He was on his way to get some food," said his older sister, Heather Price.

She said her brother didn't have a place to stay but was kind and gave everything he had to help others.

"He is a nice, well-rounded guy," said Price, 28.

Police had not officially identified the victim, who was struck near N 50th Street and Uceta Road, by late Wednesday night.

Workers at the Feeding America Tampa Bay food bank said they didn't hear anything unusual as the trains passed behind their warehouse.

But John Davis, 35, said homeless people often walk up the tracks.

"They usually walk back there, a lot of them," he said. "We heard a sound but it wasn't any different than the other times (trains went by)."

Behind a Subway parking lot next to the tracks, an area of thick foliage that appeared to be a makeshift camp held a jacket caught on a barbed wire fence, a windbreaker draped on the ground and empty 40-ounce beer bottles.

Wednesday's fatality came just two days after Gov. Charlie Crist designated April 18 - 24 as Train Safety Awareness Week.

On March 15, Deborah Sweat, 46, was killed in Dover when a train hit her as she walked along the tracks with a friend. The friend jumped out of the way and wasn't injured, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

On April 1, a homeless woman from St. Petersburg, Lisa Marie Ellett, was killed by a train in Ocala. Police found her friend uninjured beside the tracks.

As part of Train Safety Awareness Week, Florida Operation Lifesaver and the Coalition of Community Traffic Safety Teams planned events throughout the state to raise train safety awareness.

Police and investigators study the front of the Amtrak train that struck and killed a pedestrian Wednesday afternoon in Tampa. The passenger train was headed to Miami.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Police and investigators study the front of the Amtrak train that struck and killed a pedestrian Wednesday afternoon in Tampa. The passenger train was headed to Miami.

Previous train deaths

March 15: Deborah Sweat, 47, was struck by a train while walking on the tracks in Dover.

Oct. 22, 2008: Robert Stephens, 79, pulled his vehicle into the path of a 32-car train near Dade City.

Oct. 28, 2007: Stanley Pinder, 69, was killed when his pickup was struck by a train at a crossing east of Tampa.

July 17, 2007: Michael Dale Hill, 34, was killed when his Mack truck was struck by an Amtrak train. Hill was driving over a private railroad crossing in Plant City.

Compiled by Times researcher John Martin

Man walking on tracks hit by Amtrak train in Tampa 04/07/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 11:54pm]
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