A North Carolina woman preparing a goodbye party for a relative joining the Navy was killed Saturday afternoon when she was struck and killed by an Amtrak train.
Authorities had not released the woman’s name as of late Sunday, but family members identified her to WNCN as Audrey Manning.
Before she was killed, Manning had been helping to tie balloons for the party at a house in Four Oaks about 30 miles southeast of Raleigh, said Police Chief Stephen Anderson. WNCN reported that Manning’s grandnephew was due to ship out on Sunday.
Four Oaks Mayor Linwood Parker said the woman was walking between houses along a path that crossed the railroad but wasn’t considered a marked crossing.
“The houses, some of them were built prior to automobiles, and they had a path across the track,” he said.
“Witnesses said they heard the train blowing the horn,” Anderson said. “She must not have heard it and walked in front of the train.” The chief added that no charges are expected in the woman’s death.
“I know my aunt,” Manning’s niece Quovadis Blue told WNCN Sunday. “There is no way she would have gone across the train tracks if she heard a train coming. Nobody would have.”
The train was traveling from New York to Savannah, Ga. Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said none of the crew or 217 passengers were injured.
“The person was on the right of way, but didn’t have authorization to be on the tracks,” Tolbert said.
A level of comfort and familiarity around the tracks appears to predate the founding Fair Oaks, which has about 2,000 people. The town’s website says it developed around the tracks and owes its name to the railroad. It was chosen as a site for a supply depot because of an unusual landmark a tree 50 feet from the tracks that had four trunks growing from one base, the site says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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