A boy was struck and killed by a train late this morning while standing on Union Pacific railroad tracks north of Lawrence.
Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson today said the boy and two companions were on the tracks when a southbound train hit the victim about 11:30 a.m. Neither of the companions was hurt.
Anderson this morning did not know the boy's identity or whether the victim was from Lawrence. The sheriff guessed the boy was 13 years old or younger.
Officials were unsure how fast the train was moving when it struck the boy. The train came to a stop at least a quarter-mile south of the crossing where the boy was struck.
The fatality occurred on the north edge of Lawrence on a gravel road that runs west of U.S. Highway 24-59, and crosses the UP tracks about 30 yards from the entrance to Riverfront Park.
AFTER THE boy was struck, Anderson said, his companions went to Kaw Motor & Salvage Co., located on U.S. Highway 40-59 just south of the gravel road, to report the fatality.
Anderson, who was interviewed at the scene, said he was not sure why the victim and his companions were on the tracks.
John Bromley, a public relations officer at the Union Pacific Railroad headquarters in Omaha, Neb. said early this afternoon that he did not know any details about the accident.
"Until I get anything particular, I can't really say much," he said.
However, Bromley said he was concerned to learn there had been an accident in Lawrence because there have been an unusually high number of accidents involving trains in the area.
"We are always concerned about railroad safety in the Lawrence area because we've had some bad ones there before."
THE FATALITY was the second at the crossing in a little more than a year. On May 11, 1989, a 25-year-old Haskell Indian Junior College student was killed when the car he was riding in was struck by a train at the crossing.
Lester Battise, of Livingston, Tex., died in the collision. A 24-year-old woman, Edwina Sandoval, has been charged in Douglas County District Court with two felony counts of aggravated vehicular homicide stemming from the death.
Today's fatality was at least the sixth of 1990. Douglas County sheriff's officers said fatal automobile accidents occurred Jan. 19, Feb. 3 and July 21.
On April 16, a 48-year-old New Strawn man fell from a power pole northeast of Lawrence and died.
Eight days later, a 66-year-old Jamestown, Ky., woman drowned at Clinton Lake after the boat she was riding in capsized.