VIRGINIA: Moped rider killed in collision with VRE train
FAIRFAX -- A young man was killed last night when he lost control of his moped on a railroad track and slammed into the side of a moving Virginia commuter train, authorities said. A passenger on the motorized bike escaped injury.
The moped was headed south on one track when the southbound Virginia Railway Express train No. 311 approached from behind on a parallel track, authorities said.
The train was traveling about 70 mph, according to Stephen A. Maclsaac, the acting VRE director, when its engineer saw the moped, sounded the train's horn and applied the brakes. The accident occurred, Maclsaac said, when the moped apparently went out of control, swerving into the side of the engine.
The moped passenger "fell the other way," away from the train, he said, and ran to call for help at a house more than a mile away. The accident happened about 7:20 p.m. about a mile north of the Fairfax County Parkway and Newington Road.
The names of the moped's driver and his passenger were not immediately released. Gretchen Lacharite, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman, said only that the driver was in his late teens or early twenties and that his passenger is a Fairfax County resident.
The train's 191 passengers waited aboard for more than 2 1/2 hours as the police investigated at the scene. The train had been due at Fredericksburg at 8:04. One passenger reported feeling ill and was examined by emergency medical personnel, then was picked up and left the area.
The rest of the passengers stayed with the train, which started up when the investigation concluded at 10 p.m. The train left behind several Metrobuses that had been summoned for the passengers, as well as a spread of refreshments that had been arrayed for them.
The train, with one engine, three cars and a crew of three, was the last one scheduled on the commuter line for the day.
The VRE commuter trains are operated by Amtrak, whose spokesman, Cliff Black, said service scheduled for this morning should not be affected.
Black said two Amtrak trains were delayed by the accident last night--one headed north from Newport News, Va., to Boston, the other headed south from New York to Richmond.