HOUSTON – A young boy was hospitalized Saturday after trying to hop on a 67-car freight train in east Houston. His left leg was amputated, according to a Union Pacific spokeswoman.
It highlights a problem that has persisted in the east Houston neighborhood where it happened, just north of Runnels Street near Navigation.
Word spread quickly among the neighborhood children about this latest incident.
“He was riding on the train and then he fell and cut his leg open,” said 10-year-old Ariel.
“I wasn’t surprised. It was waiting to happen. It was gonna happen eventually,” said resident Sherman Calvert.
Adults and older siblings, like Isaiah Guerrero, said they constantly warn younger children about the perils of using the train for fun, and even as a mode of transportation.
“They want to keep riding. Want to go to their destination, you know,” Guerrero said, but then admitted he was once guilty, too, of hopping trains.
“Ain’t gonna lie. That was me all the way,” he said.
This latest incident has opened the eyes of his little brother.
“You could die from it,” Don, 16, said.
Ariel said she realizes that, too, and she has been thinking about the boy who just lost his leg.
“I hope he’s OK,” she said.
The sad fact is, residents said, the question isn’t if another child will lose a limb or possibly their life on the trains, but when. Calvert said perhaps building a pedestrian bridge over the crossings would help.
This latest incident occurred not at a crossing, but further down the tracks.
“Our thoughts are with the injured boy and his family,” Union Pacific spokeswoman Elizabeth Hutchison said. She added that their thoughts are with their train crew as well, because seeing a child lose a limb “can be very traumatic for everyone involved.”