Teen dies following train collision

by Wes Mayer

A 19-year-old Palmetto man has died from injuries sustained when his vehicle was struck by a train Sunday, according to Palmetto authorities.

Around 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Richmond “Richie” Steele was making a turn at the intersection of Harper Street and U.S. Highway 29. He did not see the train as he crossed the tracks and his vehicle was struck, said Palmetto Deputy Police Chief John Cooper. Steele was ejected from the vehicle, suffered multiple injuries, and was airlifted to the Atlanta Medical Center, Cooper said.

Steele had been listed in critical condition at AMC, but later passed away, according to Sgt. Lee Gragg with the Palmetto Police Department. Steele recently moved to Palmetto from Monticello, Gragg said.

The train pushed the vehicle for about 100 feet before coming to a stop, Cooper said. Cooper said it appears the 19-year-old was not wearing a seat belt, but said it is possible he might have actually been buckled in and was still ejected due to the force of the impact.

There were no crossing arms at the Harper Street crossing. However, the crossing is marked with signs and a stop sign, and the train was operating its lights and horn, Gragg said. Harper Street is a dead-end street that serves a duplex complex.

(Times-Herald staff writer Sarah Fay Campbell contributed to this story.)

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