Johnston County

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

A woman who called to report a fatal train accident Thursday told a 911 dispatcher that a teenage boy appeared to be trying to pull another one off the tracks before they were both hit and killed by an Amtrak train.

In a 911 recording released Friday, a caller who identifies herself as “Christina” with “CSX railroad” reports 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.

After giving the location of the accident, the caller says, “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 asks, “Is anyone pinned or trapped, that you know of?”

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

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

“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 says its 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-Smithfield 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 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,” the school’s principal, Stephen Baker, said. “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. ”

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