When, where and how: A detailed list of Brightline train deaths in Palm Beach County

A southbound Brightline train hit and killed a man in Lantana on the afternoon of March 26, 2022.
A southbound Brightline train hit and killed a man in Lantana on the afternoon of March 26, 2022.

Brightline and FDOT are working on a $45 million project to reduce crashes on train tracks. Brightline is seeking a federal grant of $25 million and it would contribute $10 million and FDOT $10 million to the safety project at all streets that Brightline goes through.

Since Brightline opened for service in January 2018, there have been at least 25 deaths in Palm Beach County after pedestrians or motorists were hit by trains.

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2023 Brightline deaths in Palm Beach County

Feb. 8, Delray Beach

Two people died when a train struck their SUV near Delray Beach's southern border, city police said.

Police did not immediately identify the people killed in the wreck at Lindell Boulevard and Old Dixie Highway, which the city reported on its Twitter page at about 9 p.m.

Jan. 21, Boca Raton

A Brightline train struck and killed a pedestrian while walking along the tracks near the 4200 block of North Dixie Highway on a Saturday morning, according to police. The site is north of Brightline's new station in Boca Raton.

2022 Brightline deaths in Palm Beach County

Dec. 9, Lake Worth Beach

Layfun Moore Jr., 36, died when his vehicle was struck by a Brightline train on Washington Avenue in Lake Worth Beach. Moore drove his 2017 Cadillac XTS past stopped traffic and around lowered railroad arms to beat the Brightline train at about 6:49 p.m., said an investigator with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Despite the lowered flashing arms and a loud alarm bell, Moore entered the crossing, “violating the train’s right of way.”

The train struck his Cadillac, throwing it off the crossing and coming to rest on the west side of the railroad tracks.

Aug. 7, Boynton Beach

Rodney Bondanella, 67, walked around the crossing gates at MLK Boulevard in Boynton Beach and was struck by a Brightline train at about 2 p.m., said a Boynton Beach police spokesman. The train, traveling at 65 mph, was unable to stop.

Aug. 9, Lake Worth Beach

A man died after walking into the path of a Brightline train in Lake Worth Beach. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said a northbound train struck the man as he walked eastbound across the railroad tracks, just south of 10th Avenue North shortly before 8 a.m. Authorities did not publicly identify him.

Aug. 2, Delray Beach

A man died after a Brightline train struck him at about 8:45 a.m. at Southeast Eighth Street and Southeast First Avenue, north of Linton Boulevard in Delray Beach. Police did not immediately identify the man but said they found him dead in an area that was marked as no trespassing.

June 22, Lake Worth Beach

A person was struck and killed by a Brightline train in Lake Worth Beach shortly before 9 a.m. on the southbound FEC railroad track, just north of the intersection of 10th Avenue North and North G Street. Investigators said that a man stood between the northbound and southbound train tracks facing north and did not move as the Brightline train approached.

March 26, Lantana

A southbound Brightline train hit and killed a man at about 2 p.m. near the intersection of South Dixie Highway and West Central Boulevard. Lantana Police Sgt. Constantine Laganas said no further information was available.

Feb. 19, Delray Beach

A Brightline train ran over a man, killing him, after police said he walked onto the tracks. The man stepped in front of a moving train near Gulfstream Boulevard and North Old Dixie Highway in Delray Beach at about 8 a.m., police said. The man's identity was not disclosed, and Delray Beach police said they believe his action was a suicide.

Feb. 13, Lake Worth Beach

Hidegalde Perez, 48, was killed after he drove his Ford Fusion around the lowered crossing gates near 17th Avenue North and F Street in Lake Worth Beach. As the railroad signal lights were flashing, police said the West Palm Beach man drove around the railroad’s safety arms, which were in the down position.

Jan. 4, Boynton Beach

A Brightline train struck and killed a pedestrian near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the FEC train tracks. The pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

2021 Brightline deaths in Palm Beach County - none

Brightline resumed service between its stations in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami in November 2021 after an 18-month shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

2020 Brightline deaths in Palm Beach County - none

Brightline suspended service in March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2019 Brightline deaths in Palm Beach County

Dec. 20, West Palm Beach

A northbound Brightline train struck and killed 55-year-old Jose Roibal, who had attempted to cross the tracks despite the lowered crossing gates. Roibal, who lived in West Palm Beach, was crossing from west to east over the Florida East Coast Railway track at Nottingham Boulevard shortly before 6:30 p.m. when he was hit.

Sept. 5, Delray Beach

A woman was fatally hit by a southbound Brightline train when it crashed near Northeast Fourth Street shortly before 8 a.m. Police said it appeared the woman died by suicide.

June 3, Boynton Beach

A pedestrian was killed after being hit by a train at Gateway Boulevard and the Florida East Coast tracks, according to Boynton Beach police. A witness at the scene told The Post a Brightline train hit a male pedestrian. It was unclear why he was near the train. A person who identified herself as a relative said the victim was 16.

May 18, Lake Worth Beach

Princess Davis, 32, was struck and killed by a Brightline train near South Dixie Highway and 12th Avenue South as she attempted to cross the train tracks. The Riviera Beach woman was with another woman when both tried to cross the tracks at 3:13 p.m. The conductor sounded the train horn numerous times after noticing the women, but Davis tried to beat the northbound-traveling train and was struck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

May 12, Boynton Beach

A woman was struck and killed by a Brightline train near Woolbright Road.

Feb. 13, Lantana

A Brightline train struck and killed a woman north of Hypoluxo Road around 5:40 p.m. Police said the woman was connected to a suspected shoplifting incident at the nearby K-Mart shortly before being hit by the train.

2018 Brightline deaths in Palm Beach County

June 20, Boynton Beach

A 29-year-old man from Boca Raton was struck and killed after he ran in front of a Brightline train between East Gateway Boulevard and Miner Road in Boynton Beach. His death was later ruled a suicide.

June 1, Boynton Beach

Christopher Bailey, a 46-year-old Lakeland man, was struck and killed after he reportedly jumped in front of a Brightline train traveling south from the FEC Railway crossing on Woolbright Road.

April 8, Delray Beach

A northbound Brightline train struck and killed a man near Southeast Fourth Street in what officials said appeared to be a suicide.March 11, West Palm Beach

John Nitz, 56, was killed when he was struck by a southbound Brightline train near the rail crossing at Forest Hill Boulevard. Witnesses told police Nitz was standing on the tracks and refused to move out of the way of the oncoming train, but his death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner’s office.

Jan. 17, Boynton Beach

Jeffrey King, 51, was struck and killed by a northbound Brightline train when he pedaled his bicycle around the gates near the FEC crossing on Ocean Avenue. A video from a camera on the front of Brightline’s locomotive shows the crossing gates were down as King rode his bicycle into the crossing. King can be seen riding over one of two sets of train tracks on the FEC line before he was struck by Brightline’s locomotive.

Jan. 12, Boynton Beach

Melissa Lavell, 32, was at Northeast Sixth Avenue, a couple blocks south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, when she tried to beat the Brightline train Jan. 12. Lavell and another person crossed the tracks even though the gates were down, police say. The person she was with was able to make it. The tragedy happened the night before Brightline began limited service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

2017 Brightline deaths in Palm Beach County

July 24, Boca RatonA Brightline train on a test run struck and killed an 18-year-old woman near Florida Atlantic University. Officials later ruled her death a suicide. The train was traveling southbound at around 2:30 p.m.

Brightline safety tips

  • The train you see is closer and faster-moving than you think. The fastest move at speeds of up to 79 mph.

  • Be aware that trains cannot stop quickly.

  • Never drive around lowered gates. It's illegal and potentially deadly.

  • While waiting for a train to pass at a multiple-track crossing, watch out for a second train on the other tracks, approaching from either direction.

  • When you need to cross train tracks, go to a designated crossing, look both ways, and cross the tracks quickly, without stopping. Remember that it isn't safe to stop closer than 15 feet from a rail.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: How many Brightline train deaths have there been in Palm Beach County?