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Teen electrocuted crossing LIRR tracks

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Teen electrocuted crossing LIRR tracks

BY ZACHARY R. DOWDY AND CARL MACGOWAN

 

The last day of school became a day of mourning Friday in Garden City after a 16-year-old high school student was electrocuted while crossing LIRR tracks with two friends.

 

[imga=right]http://nyctransitforums.com/forums/images/lirr_teen.jpg[/imga]Jacqueline Vincent, of Garden City, tripped and fell on an electrified third rail at 12:20 a.m. Friday in an unlit section of track between South Avenue and Cherry Valley Avenue, MTA police said. Efforts to revive her at the scene were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead at 1:05 a.m. at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola.

 

A statement released by MTA police did not indicate in which direction Jacqueline was walking. LIRR and Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said they are investigating the death as they await autopsy results.

 

MTA officials said Vincent was crossing the tracks with two friends when she came "in contact with the electrified third rail at that location," up a hill from Garden City Middle School.

 

Her friends, the statement said, dialed 911 on a cell phone.

 

At Garden City High School, some students said they learned of Jacqueline's death from classmates.

 

"She was a good person," said Matt Hayslip, 18, who just completed his senior year. He said Jacqueline belonged to a group of students who played softball after school.

 

Another student, 17, whose mother would not allow him to be identified, described Jacqueline as "really nice, upbeat... just friendly."

 

In a statement, Garden City Superintendent Robert Fiersen said Jacqueline was "a wonderful, bright, well-regarded student and classmate." He said the district's crisis response team was available to help students and parents cope.

 

"She will be missed by the entire school community," Fiersen said.

 

A woman who answered the door on Friday at the Vincent family's home said Jacqueline's father declined to comment.

 

LIRR tracks run a few hundred feet from the Vincents' two-story, Tudor-style house, which sits in a tree-lined neighborhood of upscale homes.

 

In the early afternoon, platters of food were delivered to the house as family gathered.

 

Neighbors either declined to comment or said they did not know Jacqueline or her family.

 

Jacqueline was killed about a half-mile east of her house. The site, a few hundred yards west of the LIRR's Garden City station, has no fence between the tracks and South Avenue.

 

LIRR officials said they are considering providing more fencing along the tracks where she was apparently electrocuted. "This is a tragic accident and we must all remember, at this sad time, that the only safe place to cross railroad tracks is at a railroad grade crossing," the agency said in a statement.

 

The site where Jacqueline died is covered with tall grass and railroad ties.

 

The girl's death upset MTA police officers Gerald Willis and John Matarazzo, who travel to schools throughout Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn to warn students not to walk along LIRR tracks.

 

"One of the most typical is the situation here: the third rail," which packs 750 volts of electricity, Willis said Friday at the accident site.

 

He said the LIRR's public safety program, Together Railroads and Communities Keeping Safe regularly visits Garden City schools.

 

"First thing you think about is ... did we go to that school?" Willis said.

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Man this has been a bad week for the playing on the railroads. My heart goes out to her friends and family.

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