November 18, 2011
A Liberty University student is dead after a train struck her as she walked with a group of five classmates on a railroad trestle in Amherst County.
Sheriff's Lt. Greg Turner says Hannah Emmaline Williams, of Sanford, N.C., was killed when the train struck her Thursday night.
Julianne Ashbaugh, of Temple, Ga., was hospitalized for critical injuries suffered when she fell from the trestle onto the ground. Two of the survivors jumped to a nearby piling to escape the train, and another hung below the tracks by his arms.
The five Liberty University students, all freshmen, had apparently walked onto the trestle to watch the stars, Turner said.
Authorities told The News & Advance that the students were 130 feet from one end of the bridge when the Norfolk Southern train arrived.
The News & Advance reports the accident occurred at 10:45 p.m. Thursday on a train trestle that spans the James River near River Road in Madison Heights.