A teenage girl died Thursday night after being struck by a freight train in Buffalo. Authorities say she was listening to her iPod at the time.
Tyler Wood, 16, of Buffalo, was walking west on the railroad tracks at about 6:45 p.m., when she was struck from behind by a westbound train. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The engineer told police that he observed "something on the tracks" some distance ahead of the train, and sounded the train's horn several times. Witnesses in the area told police they heard the horn sounding frequently and for long periods of time.
The girl did not make any apparent effort to move from the tracks before being struck. The engineer said he tried to make an emergency stop, but could not do so in time.
Buffalo Police Chief Mitch Weinzetl said the iPod may have been a factor in the fatal incident.
"We have been told that she had a pair of high-quality ear buds that were designed to block ambient noise," Weinzetl said. "At this point, every indication we have is that she was unaware that the train was upon her."
Weinzetl said the incident serves as a reminder to stay off railroad tracks, and also to pay attention to your surroundings.
"The lesson here is that we are doing things all the time, and sometimes we're oblivious to what's going on around us, especially when we don't have our full senses available to us," he said. "So certainly if you're walking down the road, jogging, biking, etc., you need to be more aware of your surroundings."
The fatality occurred on the south side of Highway 55, between 250 and 300 feet east of the intersection of Hwy 55 and 2nd St. South.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident. The coroner's office has not yet issued an autopsy report.