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Volusia Teen Killed in Ormond Beach Train Collision

On Sunday night in Ormond Beach, Robert M. Harris, a student at the Volusia County high school who had recently turned 18, was waiting for a friend to pick him up after finishing his shift at the River Grille Restaurant. The report filed by the Ormond Beach Police says that Harris called his friend, Samuel Boatner, 19, as well as an unnamed other friend, and asked them to pick him (Harris) up from the restaurant’s parking lot. While Boatner and the other friend were driving towards Harris, Harris sent them a SnapChat image. According to Boatner, the picture showed Harris on the trestle of a railroad track near to the restaurant.

When Boatner arrived, Harris was not in the River Grille’s parking lot. While a train slowed to a stop on the nearby tracks, Boatner went inside the restaurant and asked if Harris was around. The staff told him that Harris had not been seen after clocking out. All of the repeated attempts Boatner made to contact Harris via phone were fruitless. When Boatner left the River Grille, he began walking down the tracks, beside the stopped train. Then he saw Harris’ body in the care of a crew member from the train.

The circumstances of Harris’ death are still unclear, but there have been some facts that the Volusia County Police Department put together. A statement by the train’s conductor, D.F. Fenland, and the train’s engineer, J.D. McGraw, says that they were driving the FEC train 111 southward when they approached the trestle where Harris had taken the picture. As they neared, they saw what appeared at first to be a pile of debris. It soon became clear that this was actually a person, Harris, and the two men threw the emergency break. At that time, it seems that Harris realized the train was almost upon him and tried to stand and run away. His escape was interrupted by two falls, and then the conductor and engineer lost sight of him. The train came to a complete stop, and Harris’ body was discovered.

Shortly afterwards, the body was relinquished to a Florida medical examiner for a complete autopsy. At this time, it is not known if there were any external contributing factors to this tragedy, and the case continues to be under investigation.

To schedule a free initial consultation, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587).


James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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