Teenager Killed By Train In Westmoreland Co.

By Kym Gable

SOUTH HUNTINGDON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Students at Yough Sr. High School in Westmoreland County are mourning the death of another classmate.

Erika Stefan, 15, was killed by a train Sunday morning as she walked along the tracks in Smithton.

The coroner says she was wearing headphones and probably didn’t see or hear the CSX train.

Another Yough student, 16-year-old Taylor Fronhofer, was killed in a car crash on Nov. 27.

  • PJ Haupl

    if there is no where else to walk then she has to walk close to the train tracks and her earphones can not posiabley be that loud cause the train wissel is really loud. RIP

    • GR

      GrammerCop needs to find something better to do with his/her/it’s time. How much more insensitive and rude can he/she/it be?

  • TLS

    After two tragedies in our town the railroad came in and spoke to the community and school children. Most adults have no idea how dangerous it is to walk near the tracks let alone on them. This death is a tragedy that sadly could have been prevented through education. Walking on or near railroad tracks is considered trespassing and against the law—because it is so dangerous. This is a subject worthy of a feature.

  • Rebekah E Gamble

    Guys, seriously, I lived with Erika for some time (she was my niece) and i AM an educator. There was no way to get into town from her house without going near the tracks. Ya, we all wish that wasn’t the case, but until the railroad gets off their butts and does something about it, kids are going to continue to die. Here’s my question: the train can see pretty well there. Why didn’t it slow down? They told us she had to be hit at nearly full speed. If she wasn’t, she may have lived.

    Besides that, you’re not talking about a silly toddler. You’re talking about a very well educated, somewhat street smart and very book smart teenager. The girl had a tough life. She knew how to survive.

    So before you go blaming the community for their lack of education, get one yourself. If you knew anything about the situation, you might not be so idiotic.

    • todd

      Its unfortunate that this happened but maybe this is a lesson for all kids, don’t have your earphones blasting so loud that you cant hear a train, that most people can here 2 or more miles away!

      • abcpolice

        you mean most people can (hear) heard of spell check?

      • GrammerCop

        “2” Spell out numbers less than or equal to ten. (Two)

    • azwildcatgirl


  • Jill

    No way to get to town without going near the tracks? Are there no paved roads? Clearly walking on or by the tracks wearing earphones is not safe. What are you expecting the railroad to do about it? Why is it their problem?

    • redlght

      If you had been there you would know the road on that stretch is even more dangerous to walk than the tracks, that is why a lot walk them instead they need to put in a walk way along that road.

  • whiskey6

    stupid, something in the water

  • critter

    Gamble. Always someone else fault. Its called common sense or lack thereof.

  • dawg15

    Gamble. Its always someone else”s fault. Its called common sense or lack thereof.

  • rr employee

    why does no one ever consider the impact these events have on the train crew?it is a lot to deal with and we are also styck reliveing these tragic events when we pass through these areas day after day

    • GrammerCop

      “reliveing” Spelling error, reliving
      “styck” Spelling error, stuck
      crew?it Missing space.
      “to deal with” Use a more specific verb.

  • pb

    It is not the train crew, or railroad’s fault in any way, shape or form. The person responsible is Erika herself. no one else. It is a tragedy, but her responsibility. She lived there and knew about the train schedule and dangers. When you live in an area with dangers, you know what they are and how to avoid them. I feel for them family and friends left behind who will never know why she did such a stupid thing.

    • GrammerCop

      “no one else.” Sentence begins with a lower-case letter.
      Use the objective pronoun case with “behind.”

  • azwildcatgirl

    If you walk or run on roads without sidewalks you be facing the traffic. If you are facing the traffic you will see the vehicle (or train) coming, thus leaving you with time to react if they don’t see you or lose control.

  • Rj

    rr employee is not blaming any of the train crew. He’s saying it also hits hard at home for the operator that had to witness his locomotive hitting the teenage girl, and reliving the event through dreams or flashbacks.

  • J Dalpe

    Train tracks? cmon is it really necessary to teach ANYONE that tracks are dangerous? Are we breeding for sport and not teaching the trophies how
    NOT to DIE? Nice job parents.

    • mom of one

      I agree.. god gave us kids.. raise them.. not only watch over them.. BUT take caer of them.. teach them to learn.. love and love.. and they will live , love, and cherish for ever..

    • grnlght

      the road on that stretch is even more dangerous to walk than the tracks.

    • GrammerCp

      “cmon” Sentence begins with a lower-case letter.
      Pronoun “we” conflicts with verb “breeding.”
      Nice Use a more exact adjective or adverb.

    • parent whocares

      you must not have teenagers! I feel for the family and g=friends. What a loss to deal with. God bless.

  • GrammerCop

    “GrammerCop” Yes it is misspelled on purpose.

  • Rebekah Gamble

    Well, a very simple solution was posed to the train crew, but they rejected the idea. In Erika’s situation, she was not walking ON the tracks. She was walking beside the lines, closer to the shrubbery. The ear phone thing is bogus. First of all, they had no way of knowing whether she was listening to them or not when she was hit. Second of all, she would have been safe if the train didn’t sway. It wasn’t a head on hit, she was hit by the steps that hang off the side of the train. In fact, if the train had swayed the other way on the tracks, she would have lived.

    It’s not a blame game, but when the railroad is offered very simple, inexpensive solutions, yet turns them down without so much as a meeting on the ideas, how can we not look at the train company and wonder? After all, would it kill them to post lines on the tracks in inhabited areas? It’s done for the road and sidewalks, why not train tracks? I find it very interesting that the people we spoke to about that wanted to do it, but the higher-ups in the company rejected the idea without a meeting or any form of consideration.

    And I never asked the train to stop. That would have been impossible. But the train would have seen her from several hundred feet away from where she was hit. There is not excuse for not trying to slow it down and save a child.

    Considering the death rate in that area, the company should do something to help.

    No, the real problem with these posts is that everyone here read the earliest known news and believed it instantly. Very gullible, my friends. Common sense says the thing with the head phones is impossible. So does the law enforcement handling the case AND the coroner, who I spoke to personally.

    Do not blame one person for this. I wish she hadn’t been NEAR the tracks, but I wish the company would be more responsible as well. There’s no reason to have three deaths in the same area that close together.

    Besides, where, exactly, was she going to go? There are no sidewalks in her area, and no shoulders on the roads. There’s no park or playground or trail. Maybe the community should invest in a place for these kids to go.

  • Rebekah Gamble

    And GrammerCop, please take your lack of sensitivity somewhere else. If you’re so anal-retentive about grammar, go get a degree and be a teacher. Besides, grammar rules don’t apply when comments are informal or in quotation marks.

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