A 17-year-old high school student was struck and killed by a Union Pacific train in Troutdale, Oregon this weekend during an ill-fated and ill-advised senior portrait shoot on the tracks.
According to local news outlet KATU 2, 17-year-old River Baker, a senior at Estacada High School in Estacada, OR, was struck by the train on Saturday evening. Law enforcement was called to the scene of the accident just before 6pm, and pronounced Baker dead at the scene.
News anchor Catherine Van tweeted that Union Pacific confirmed the news, and says the Multnomah County Sheriff is investigating “what led up to the teen getting hit.”
TRAGIC: @UnionPacific says a 17-year-old boy was killed by one of its trains last night while taking senior photos on the tracks near E Columbia River Hwy in Troutdale. @MultCoSO is investigating what led up to the teen getting hit. #LiveOnK2 pic.twitter.com/aiua2aarqK
— Catherine Van (@cat08van) November 4, 2019
The photographer involved has not been identified, but is no doubt being questioned by the Sheriff’s office to find out why they were on the tracks to begin with. Meanwhile, Union Pacific has released a statement of condolence and is begging photographers, parents and students to stay off the tracks.
“Our thoughts are with the teen’s family and friends,” says Union Pacific spokesperson Kristen South. “We plead with parents, students and photographers to not take photos on or near the tracks.”
As we’ve reported time-and-again, no photograph is worth the risk associated with a photo shoot on the tracks. While you might think that a large, lumbering train would be easy to spot and avoid, this TODAY show segment reveals just how easily a freight train can sneak up on someone and end a life.
Image credits: Header photo by Sean Lamb, CC BY-SA 2.0.