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Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018
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Polk girl, 11, using phone, headphones before train killed her

HAINES CITY — An 11-year-old girl died Wednesday after being struck by an Amtrak train as she walked across the railroad tracks, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The conductor told deputies that the girl was looking down at her phone before the train hit her.

"This is a tragedy a parent or family should never have to go through," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

The girl was identified as Yazmin White of Haines City. Deputies said she left Carmelita’s restaurant at 2670 U.S. 17/92 at about 4:45 p.m.

She walked west through some woods and tried to cross over the railroad tracks south of the intersection of U.S. 17/92 and Bates Road, deputies said.

The conductor told deputies that he repeatedly blew the train’s horn and applied the brakes, but she was looking down at her phone and "did not make any indication that she was aware the train was approaching her."

The train was going at 68 mph at the time.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators said they believe the girl was wearing headphones when she stepped onto the railroad tracks.

The train was composed of 12 passenger cars and two locomotives.

Detectives said the train operator, whose name was not released, will not face charges.

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Public safety

Polk girl, 11, using phone, headphones before train killed her