11-Year-Old Killed By Train Was Distracted By Phone

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An 11-year-old girl was killed after walking into the path of a speeding Amtrak train in Florida on Jan. 3.

Yazmin White, a sixth-grader at Davenport School of the Arts, was struck when she attempted to cross the tracks while walking in a section of woods in Haines City, according to WFTS.

The train conductor told deputies that he applied the brakes and blew the horn repeatedly, to no avail. Yazmin was wearing headphones and was looking down at her phone when the accident occurred. She was declared dead at the scene.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said, "We send our deepest condolences to Yazmin's family. This is a tragedy a parent or family should never have to go through."

The Amtrak passenger train was traveling southbound at approximately 68 mph, and consisted of 12 passenger cars and two engines.

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According to WTVT, Yasmin was on her way home from a convenience store and took a shortcut across the train tracks. Wearing earbuds and looking down at her phone as she walked onto the rails, she didn't see the train until the last absolute moment.

The conductor told deputies he "continuously blew the horn for about a quarter of a mile … while … trying to stop the train," according to Judd.

Yazmin was a vivacious young girl who had transferred to the Davenport School of the Arts to study piano, according to WTVT. She also leaves behind a 9-year-old brother.

"She made a lot of friends, she was … vibrant, and had a lot of energy," said Principal Brian Keir.

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Polk County School Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said grief counselors were helping students cope with the news of their classmate's death.

"Making sure all of our students that have concerns, that their hearts are heavy and broken, we're providing that support to them here at the school," Byrd said.

Byrd added that in addition to Davenport School of the Arts, counselors will be available at Yazmin's younger brother's school and to Yazmin's parents, for as long as they need them.

The tragedy hit the community hard as the news spread.

"She is going to be greatly missed … by the students and the faculty," said Byrd.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office and Amtrak authorities continue their investigation into the crash.

But this tragedy once again underscores the need to pay attention to one's surroundings -- no matter how young or old -- and monitor headphone volume to be able to hear approaching danger.

Sources: WFTS, WTVT / Featured Image: RaySawak/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Pixabay, Joseph Barillari/Wikimedia Commons

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