Smithfield Herald

Caller says teen was trying to help another off railroad tracks before both were hit in Smithfield

A woman who called 911 on Thursday told a dispatcher that one teen appeared to be trying to pull another off the tracks before both were hit and killed by an Amtrak train.

In a 911 recording released Friday, a caller who identified herself as “Christina” with “CSX railroad” reported that two people had been hit by the passenger train. Police later identified those two as Selma residents Robert Naughton, 17, and Alan Peedin, 18, who were pronounced dead at the scene.

After giving the location of the accident, the caller said, “They said one person was laying across the tracks, and it looked like the other one was trying to pull the other one off, but they believe they struck both of them.”

The 911 dispatcher later asked, “Is anyone pinned or trapped that you know of?”

“We don’t know,” the caller responded. “We just know one person was laying on the tracks, and one looked like they were trying to get the other one off.”

The caller gave the dispatcher a call-back number – the same number CSX posts on its website for emergencies. Kristin Seay, a spokeswoman for CSX, confirmed that the company reported the accident to local authorities.

Smithfield police, along with the Amtrak and CSX police departments, are still trying to figure out what happened. Smithfield Lt. R.K. Powell said it might be weeks before they know for sure what led to the teens’ deaths.

“When it comes to this, we don’t try to make any rushed decisions,” Powell said. “We look at it as we do any crime and work all the angles to get the answers the parents need.”

Amtrak’s Train 90, the Palmetto, was headed to New York from Savannah, Ga., when it struck the teens at about 1:50 p.m. on Thursday, about 2 miles south of the Selma train station.

None of the 94 passengers on the train were injured. Powell said the train was stopped for about three hours while authorities conducted an initial investigation.

Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Tracey Peedin Jones confirmed that both Naughton and Peedin were 10th-graders at Smithfield-Selma High School.

“These students were part of the Spartan family, and their presence will be missed,” said the school’s principal, Stephen Baker. “Losing a part of your family is always difficult, and we are working with our students, staff and the students’ families to provide any assistance we can to help through this difficult time. ”