Kannapolis train deaths ruled accidental
KANNAPOLIS ó Police believe two rest home residents killed by a train Friday night were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Randy Davis, 52, and Billy Richardson, 39, residents of Britthaven of Kannapolis, died around 6 p.m. when struck by an Amtrak train near the 18th Street crossing.
The train’s engineer told police he saw the men. One appeared to be kneeling on the tracks and the other appeared to be trying to pull him off.
The engineer used the train’s brake, but traveling at 65 mph, the train was unable to stop, continuing another 350 feet after impact.
Both men died instantly.
Chief Woody Chavis of the Kannapolis Police Department said the men frequently took walks from the assisted living facility which is on U.S. 29 about two-tenths of a mile from where the accident happened.
Both had disabilities and at least one had some walking impairment.
Chavis said it’s likely one man stumbled as they were attempting to cross the tracks and the other man was trying to help him.
“We think it was accidental. There’s nothing that leads us to believe otherwise,” Chavis said Monday.
The Rowan County Rescue Squad assisted police, transporting the remains to Rowan Regional Medical Center.
These were the first train-related fatalities this year in Kannapolis.
A decade ago, train fatalities were common in Kannapolis, particularly in the northern section where several small bars were located adjacent to the tracks. As many as six or eight people died on the tracks in some years.
Chavis recalled personally investigating seven or eight train deaths during that era.
He noted this was the first double fatality on the tracks he has investigated.