PB Post: Brightline tracks not safe enough, families of crash victims say

Posted on October 17, 2018

By: Julius Whigham, Palm Beach Post

The attorney for two families that had sons and brothers die in Brightline crashes called Tuesday for stricter safety measures along the tracks of the high-speed rail line linking West Palm Beach and Miami.

The system in place is inadequate, said the attorney, Zedrick Barber, noting that the rail line has announced plans to expand service to Orlando even with South Florida’s issues with track safety.

“It’s clear that there’s a problem going on right now in South Florida but, pretty soon, that problem is going to travel from South Florida throughout the state of Florida,” Barber said during a news conference Tuesday at his law practice in Palm Beach Gardens.

Seven people have been struck and killed by Brightline trains in Palm Beach County since passenger service began in January. In addition, one other person was killed last year during Brightline’s testing phase.

Barber is representing the families of Jeffrey King, who was killed in January in Boynton Beach, and Paul Sandoval, who died last month in Lantana. He said the men’s deaths and others could have been prevented with property safety measures.

“You cannot be America’s future high speed train with safeguards from the past,” Barber said. “We’re 2018, there is clearly more that can be done. ...

“There should be more signs, there should be warnings, there should be voice recordings, especially in these areas where they’re used to freight trains moving at much slower pace.”

A phone message left for a Brightline spokesperson was not returned. However, the company has said in the past that its safety and security team evaluates areas where accidental deaths and suicides occur. The rail line has started a public-awareness program to warn pedestrians to heed lights and crossing gates.

Sandoval, 36, was was killed on the night of Sept. 14 by a northbound Brightline train in Lantana. He was struck at about 10:15 that night at Washington Avenue and South Dixie Highway in Lantana…

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