Two brothers were struck and killed by a train while mourning a third brother who died in the same spot on the train tracks a week earlier, according to police in Charlotte, N.C.
The double fatality happened early last Tuesday outside Charlotte, where a LYNX Blue Line train fatally struck two men on the light rail track.
Pablo Tiquiram Us, 29, and his younger brother Jose, 20, were walking up the tracks around 5 a.m. when they were hit by the oncoming train, Charlotte police said. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say the two men were on the tracks to conduct a memorial for their brother Baltazar Tiquiram Us, 27, who was struck by a train while in his car on July 26.
“They had been memorializing their brother on the one-week anniversary of his death, and they were conducting a memorial out by the site where he was killed,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Sgt. Adam Jones said during a press conference Wednesday. “Unfortunately, the two brothers were also struck by a train while they were on foot and they both succumbed to their injuries pretty quickly.”
All safety measures were working properly around the train tracks at the time of the deaths, officials said in a news release. Baltazar reportedly drove around a crossing arm into the path of the train.
Authorities suspect alcohol was a factor in all three deaths.
In the latest case, the conductor stopped the train immediately after the two men were hit.
Trains might seem like an easy-to-avoid danger but they can sneak up on people who are distracted on the tracks, according to Margaret Cannell, executive director of Operation Lifesaver North Carolina. The non-profit is dedicated to reducing railway crossing-related deaths.
“People always ask … ‘How do you get hit by a train? They’re so loud, they make so much noise, they’re so heavy, they blow their horn,’” Cannell told local broadcaster WJZY. “You can’t always depend on hearing a train. They’re much quieter until they get right up on you.”
The police investigation is ongoing.
— With files from The Associated Press