A Garfield Middle School student was struck and killed by a train on Monday evening, according to a report on northjersey.com.
I’msitting down to learn about exactly what happened on the train tracks after a commute that took about 90 minutes longer than normal. I was standing on the PATH platform in Jersey City when I got the alert about train service being suspended at Rutherford because of a fatality in Garfield (where I live). Hoboken was a bit of a crazy mess with people unsure how they were going to get home. There weren’t any announcements in the terminal either, which made the situation even more confusing. There were some people who didn’t even realize what had happened since they aren’t on the alerts mailing list.
I ended up paying an obscene amount of money to take a cab to the train station (since there was no sign of when train service would be reinstated), but we were stopped on Outwater at Shaw, about two blocks from the train station. I had to hop out and walk the rest of the way. And that’s when I saw that the scene of the crash was where the train tracks cross Outwater. There was a small crowd gathered near the police tape, many of them younger, much like described in The Record’s story. I did not see any tears, but I did see concern.
You couldn’t see much more of what was happening at the scene, especially since it had grown dark at this point. I walked around to the other side of the tracks, which is where my car was parked, and still couldn’t see much.
What I’m going to remember, though, is the chilling smell. It was some sort of mixture of oil and metal and…something else. Knowing the full story now about how it was a seventh grader mixed with what I saw and smelled at the scene just makes the situation all that much sadder to me. My heart goes out to the boy’s family and all of his friends.
This isn’t the first tragedy here in Garfield in the last year. A teen died after he was hit in the chest with a baseball last December. It was a big topic of conversation at my local pizza place with people expressing sadness and confusion. How could such a thing happen?
To make matters worse with today’s tragedy, this is the second train accident killing young people in about 24 hours. Two teens were killed when they were hit by a train in Wayne Sunday night. Far too much tragedy for a 24-hour period on the train tracks.