1 killed, 3 others hurt after Brightline train collides with SUV trying to beat crossing in Melbourne

'There was a lady hanging out the back. She was covered in blood,' witness Jacob Hungerford says
Posted at 7:19 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 19:19:49-05

MELBOURNE, Fla. — One person was killed and three others were hurt after an SUV tried to beat a rail crossing and was hit by a Brightline train in Central Florida.

The Wednesday collision left the driver of the SUV dead and three passengers injured.

The incident happened at about 2 p.m. at West H Jackson Street.

Jacob Hungerford was working at a nearby business when he heard the crash.

"The car was flipped over on its side," Hungerford said. "There was a lady hanging out the back. She was covered in blood. They were all saying, 'Please help me. Please help me.'"

Melbourne police said the driver died and three passengers were taken to the hospital.

The train was stopped for hours as police investigated.

"Honestly, I was telling them yesterday that it's just a lot of sadness here," Hungerford said. "A lot of sadness, makes me want to choke up thinking about it."

With Brightline running between Orlando and Miami, more trains are traveling through Brevard County.

Melbourne Mayor Paul Alfrey wants drivers to realize that.

"Years ago we had five or six trains maybe a day, and we're getting you know five to six times that," Alfrey said. "You really have to focus on your safety, your passenger safety and really where your vehicle is. You can't stop on the tracks."

Hungerford said it's still tough processing what happened on Wednesday

"I'm really sorry that this happened," Hungerford said. "It's a really tough lesson to learn."

Police are still working to learn what caused the SUV to run through the crossing.

The new Brightline passenger train has been offering round-trip service between Miami and Orlando since September.