WHITLEY CITY —
The community is mourning the deaths of two young men who were struck by train Sunday evening.
Patrick Taylor, 20, of Whitley City and Joshua Jones, 20, of Revelo were walking along the railroad tracks between Courthouse Square and Dripping Springs Road when they were fatally struck by a southbound Norfolk-Southern train.
The accident occurred just a day after 14-year-old Andrew Byrd was killed by a train in Madison County.
According to NS spokesman Robin Chapman, the local accident occurred at 6:57 p.m. near a split in the tracks. Though the crew sounded the horn and attempted to brake, the train was unable to avoid the collision.
McCreary County 911 was notified by Norfolk Southern but first-responders initially had a difficult time locating the scene as the train was no longer in sight.
“Trains travel 55-60 miles per hour along that section,” Chapman said. “Fully loaded, it would have taken at least a mile for a train to come to a complete stop.”
With the train stopped closer to Stearns, emergency responders worked more than an hour to recover the bodies.
McCreary County Sheriff Gus Skinner said that while officials can only speculate, it is possible that the young men stayed on the track believing that the train would continue on the other track. He added that alcohol and drugs are not suspected as a contributing factor.
“By all accounts they were both good kids,” the sheriff said. “No matter how many times you’ve done it, it’s never easy telling parents that their child has passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families as well as the engineers, who did all they could.”
Chapman noted that NS encourages the public to think twice before walking on the tracks.
“This is a tragic reminder that walking on railroad tracks is not only dangerous but illegal,” he said.
Assisting at the scene were McCreary County Coroner Dan Ridener, Kentucky State Police Trooper Wendell Higginbotham, Deputy Sheriff Jerry Meadows, Whitley City volunteer firefighters and the McCreary County Search and Rescue Squad.
Both men were members of McCreary Central High’s Class of 2010. At press time, funeral arrangements for Taylor (Pine Knot Funeral Home) and Jones (Hickman-Strunk Funeral Home) were incomplete.
UPDATE: Funeral services for Patrick Taylor were held Thursday, November 1 with burial following in the Taylor Family Cemetery. Funeral services for Joshua Jones will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Hickman Strunk Funeral Home with burial following in the Jones Family Cemetery.