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Title: Train Strikes, Kills Deaf Woman April 7, 2000

By Michael Hasch TRIBUNE-REVIEW - Greensburg

A deaf woman who routinely walked across railroad tracks to get from her home to the shopping district of New Kensington was struck and killed Thursday by a train that was trying to stop and sounding its whistle.

The 42-year-old mother of two, whose identity was withheld last night pending notification of relatives, was struck at 9:30 a.m. along the Allegheny Valley Railroad lines off Barnes Street.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, about 600 feet north of Ninth Street.

"She apparently didn't see the train and stepped right in front of it," said New Kensington Detective Sgt. Ron Zellers.

"The engineer stated that she was about 10 feet in front of him when he saw her. He blew the whistle and slammed on the brakes."

"It looks like an accident," said deputy Westmoreland County Coroner Dennis Johns. "Possibly she wasn't paying attention and she couldn't hear the train whistle.

"The train was only going about 8 miles per hour but of course it takes time for one of them to stop. The conductor saw her and told the engineer to blow the whistle and hit the brakes," he added.

Johns said the woman died of multiple blunt force injuries to the head, torso and extremities.

The speed limit for the tracks in the area is between 10 and 12 mph, he said.

The Allegheny Valley Railroad engine was hauling five boxcars from Verona to an area warehouse, Johns said.

Zellers said there is not a paved railroad crossing at the site. But he said residents commonly walk across the tracks there to get to the downtown shopping district.

Johns said he was told the victim lived on Rebecca Street with her 5-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son. The little girl was staying with her grandmother when the accident occurred, he said.

Authorities said they weren't sure where the woman was heading but that she was known to often walk the 1{1/2) miles from her home to downtown.


-- (, April 07, 2000

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