INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s a new and disturbing trend that’s railroad engineers say they’re seeing on an almost daily basis – kids and teens are playing games on the tracks and putting their lives at risk.
Railroad officials say the games aren’t just illegal, but they’re costing people their lives.
Eric Powell with the Indiana Rail Road says these dangerous games, like “chicken” and “breezing,” are being reported by railroads across Indiana.
“We’ve seen more and more incidents where people treat tracks like it’s a place to play,” said Powell. “It’s an extremely dangerous past-time.”
And when accidents happen during these “games” they’re often deadly.
In the past several weeks there have been multiple reports across the state, including an 11-year-old Indianapolis girl who had her leg amputated by a train after investigators say she was jumping onto railcars of a slowly moving CSX train and fell onto the tracks.
“When these injuries happen they’re pretty bad and pretty gruesome,” said Powell.
On Wednesday, three teens were caught playing “chicken” with a 6,000 ton Indiana Railroad Train in Johnson County. The train was moving at more than 40 miles per hour and the teens were jumping out of the way at the last second.
And in Hendricks County, there have been reports of teens playing a game called “breezing” where they stand so close to a fast moving train that they can feel it “breeze” by.
“I think a lot of teenagers feel like they are invincible,” said Powell. “But they don’t realize that if you’re going to fall off a train or get hit by a train, two things are going to happen: either you’re going to die or you’re going to have a catastrophic injury such as losing a limb that’s going to change your life forever.”
And it isn’t just the kids and their families who are impacted by the consequences; they also leave a lasting impact on train crews.
“When these incidents happen, it’s really hard for the crews of the railroad because they have to respond to these scenes that are horrific,” said Powell.
In 2016, 20 people died in trespassing accidents on Indiana railroad tracks. Dozens of others were charged with trespassing before they could get hurt.
In Indiana, all railroad properties are considered private and anyone caught playing on them can be charged and face time in jail.
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