Utah girl, 17, has legs severed while train hopping

Sep 7 2011 - 10:40am

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Two men console one another other after a woman they were traveling with fell under a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train in Longmont, Colo., on Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Authorities say a 17-year-old university student lost both her legs at the knee when she fell under a moving freight train while trying to hop aboard it in Longmont. She was flown to Denver Health Medical Center after the accident Monday. Hospital officials say they cannot release any information. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Richard M. Hackett)
Longmont community service officer Steve Sisson measures the scene after a woman fell under a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train in Longmont, Colo., on Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Authorities say a 17-year-old university student lost both her legs at the knee when she fell under a moving freight train while trying to hop aboard it in Longmont. She was flown to Denver Health Medical Center after the accident Monday. Hospital officials say they cannot release any information. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Richard M. Hackett)
Registered nurse Kathy Poiry is photographed at at the hospital in Longmont, Colo., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. Poiry was one of two Longmont United Hospital employees who provided first aid to a woman after she fell while attempting to jump onto a moving train in Longmont on Monday. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Richard M. Hackett)
Nicole Crowley is photographed at her home in Firestone, Colo. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. Crowley, a lab assistant at Longmont United Hospital, called 911 and rushed a girl's aid with medical supplies after her legs were severed when she fell while attempting to jump onto a moving train on Monday. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Joshua Buck)
Two men console one another other after a woman they were traveling with fell under a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train in Longmont, Colo., on Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Authorities say a 17-year-old university student lost both her legs at the knee when she fell under a moving freight train while trying to hop aboard it in Longmont. She was flown to Denver Health Medical Center after the accident Monday. Hospital officials say they cannot release any information. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Richard M. Hackett)
Longmont community service officer Steve Sisson measures the scene after a woman fell under a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train in Longmont, Colo., on Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Authorities say a 17-year-old university student lost both her legs at the knee when she fell under a moving freight train while trying to hop aboard it in Longmont. She was flown to Denver Health Medical Center after the accident Monday. Hospital officials say they cannot release any information. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Richard M. Hackett)
Registered nurse Kathy Poiry is photographed at at the hospital in Longmont, Colo., on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. Poiry was one of two Longmont United Hospital employees who provided first aid to a woman after she fell while attempting to jump onto a moving train in Longmont on Monday. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Richard M. Hackett)
Nicole Crowley is photographed at her home in Firestone, Colo. on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011. Crowley, a lab assistant at Longmont United Hospital, called 911 and rushed a girl's aid with medical supplies after her legs were severed when she fell while attempting to jump onto a moving train on Monday. (AP Photo/Longmont Times-Call, Joshua Buck)

 

LONGMONT, Colo. -- The Utah family of a 17-year-old girl whose legs were severed while trying to hop a freight train identified the Colorado State University student as Anna Beninati.

 

Authorities say Beninati's legs were severed at the knee when she fell under the train on Monday in Longmont, Colo., about 30 miles north of Denver and 30 miles south of Fort Collins, where she attends school. Police say she was trying to get to Fort Collins after a trip to Denver.

 

Police say her parents live in Sandy, Utah.

Beninati is listed in serious condition. Her family has declined interview requests but thanked first responders and bystanders who helped their daughter.

Police say three males were with her. One suffered minor injuries when he hopped aboard and quickly got off. The other two weren't hurt.

The girl repeatedly asked if she was going to die, said Kathy Poiry, a nurse who happened to be nearby and rushed to the girl's aid.

"I kept telling her she was not going to die," Poiry told the Longmont Times Call (http://bit.ly/qc0Yit). "We told her she was going to lose her legs. We didn't sugar coat it for her."

The girl and three male companions got a ride in a car from Denver to Longmont earlier Monday and planned to ride the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train the rest of the way to Fort Collins, Satur said. Investigators don't know how they got to Denver, he said.

One of the males, a 17-year-old from Fort Collins, got aboard the train but quickly jumped off, suffering abrasions on his left arm, Satur said. His name wasn't released because he is a juvenile. Police had said earlier he was hurt when he was dragged by the train.

A 21-year-old man from the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colo., got aboard the train and his whereabouts were unknown on Tuesday, Satur said. Investigators know his name but won't release it until they contact him.

Satur identified the third male as Charles Hamilton, 25, of Gillette, Wyo. He didn't get aboard the train and wasn't injured. Investigators believe he pulled the girl away from the train after she was hurt, Satur said.

Colorado State University spokeswoman Dell Rae Moellenberg confirmed the girl is a student there but said she couldn't release any other information.

The three males are not CSU students, Satur said. Hamilton and the 17-year-old boy were cited for trespassing.

Drugs and alcohol were not involved, police said.

The train had four locomotives and 118 cars, and the group tried to board the 33rd car, Satur said.

Satur said the train was moving 10 mph to 18 mph. Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Andy Williams put the speed at 7 mph to 10 mph.

Police notified the train crew of the accident, and the train stopped about a quarter mile north of the accident, Williams said.

He said one person fled from the train but he didn't know whether it was the 21-year-old from Broomfield.

Nationwide, 442 pedestrians were killed and 388 were injured when they were struck by trains on railroad property in 2010, according to Operation Lifesaver, a nonprofit that promotes rail safety. The Federal Railroad Administration classifies the pedestrians as trespassers because they were on railroad property.

"Anytime you go onto our tracks or onto our right-of-way, you are trespassing," said Williams, the railroad spokesman.

In Colorado, four pedestrians were killed and six were injured when they were struck by trains in 2010.

 

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