News

Death Train: A Timeline of Brightline Fatalities in South Florida UPDATED

The Associated Press says Brightline is the deadliest train system per mile in America.
The Associated Press says Brightline is the deadliest train system per mile in America. Photo courtesy of Brightline
Within a few hours of returning to South Florida last November, after a 20-month hiatus during the pandemic, Brightline was already off to a rough start.

On November 8, the "higher-speed" train — which runs from West Palm Beach to Miami — slammed into a woman and her grandchild driving across the railroad tracks in Pompano Beach. While they miraculously walked away with minor injuries, others haven't been as fortunate in recent years.

Dubbed the deadliest train per mile in America by the Associated Press, Brightline has killed at least 55 people across Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties in the more than three years since its 2017 debut. Since relaunching service in November, five people have been in fatal collisions with Brightline trains.

Here is a timeline of Brightline deaths in South Florida since the service's 2017 debut.

March 12, 2022
A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Brightline train near Coolidge Street in Hollywood.

February 19, 2022

A man was struck and killed by a Brightline train after walking onto the tracks in Delray Beach. Authorities believe his death was a suicide. It was the fourth Brightline crash in Palm Beach County that week.

February 15, 2022
A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Brightline train near South Dixie Highway in Hallandale Beach. Authorities pronounced the person dead at the scene.

February 13, 2022
Hidegalde Perez, 48, drove his Ford Fusion around the lowered crossing gates and was killed after being struck by an oncoming Brightline train in Lake Worth.

January 27, 2022
A man was decapitated after being struck by a Brightline train while attempting to cross the street near 21st Avenue and Harris Street in Hollywood.

January 4, 2022
A Brightline train struck and killed a pedestrian near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Boynton Beach.
December 30, 2021
A brother and sister were struck and killed by a Brightline train near NE 214th Street by the Miami-Dade and Broward border when the driver, Marc Charleus, 68, attempted to drive across the tracks despite the crossing gates having been lowered. He was taking his sister, Veronique Charleus, 58, to work.

December 13, 2021
A Brightline train struck a woman in her early 70s near the Fort Lauderdale Brightline station. She was rushed to Broward Health Medical Center but died from her injuries.

December 11, 2021
Hollywood Police Department said that a man was struck and killed after stepping in front of a northbound Brightline train near Van Buren Street in Hollywood. It was being investigated as a potential suicide.

December 7, 2021
A Brightline train struck and killed a pedestrian near NE 163rd Street in North Miami Beach.

March 17, 2020
A Brightline train struck and killed at least one person attempting to cross the tracks in their car near the 600 block of NE Seventh Avenue in Pompano Beach.
February 18, 2020
A southbound Brightline train struck and killed a man driving a van that went through the crossing gates near Atlantic Boulevard in Pompano Beach.

January 1, 2020
A southbound Brightline train struck and killed a male pedestrian in the 300 block of Dixie Highway in Pompano Beach.

December 20, 2019
A northbound Brightline train struck and killed 55-year-old Jose Roibal, who West Palm Beach Police say had been attempting to cross the tracks despite the crossing gates having been lowered.

November 15, 2019
A woman attempting to drive a Mercedes SUV across the tracks was struck and killed by a Brightline train in Aventura.

November 13, 2019
A Brightline train struck and killed a man near 48th Street in Deerfield Beach.

September 24, 2019
A Brightline train struck and killed a 47-year-old pedestrian near Taft Street in Hollywood.
September 12, 2019
A 46-year-old Fort Lauderdale man named Clivet Romero attempted to drive his Maserati across the train tracks near Oakland Park All four crossing gates had been lowered and warning bells were sounding as a freight train approached from the north and a Brightline train approached from the south. According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, the rear end of the car "was wedged under the Brightline train and burst into flames." Romero died on impact.

September 5, 2019
A Brightline train struck and killed a woman in a car near NE Fourth Street in Delray Beach.

August 20, 2019
A bicyclist was struck and killed by a Brightline train in the 3300 Block of North Dixie Highway in Pompano Beach. According to the Miami Herald, witnesses said the man crossed the tracks trying to beat the train.

June 3, 2019
A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Brightline train near Gateway Boulevard in Boynton Beach. According to the Palm Beach Post, a person who identified themself as a relative said the victim was 16.
May 18, 2019
Princess Davis, 32, was struck and killed by a Brightline train near 12th Avenue in Lake Worth as she attempted to cross the train tracks.

May 12, 2019
A woman was struck and killed by a Brightline train near Woolbright Road in Boynton Beach.

March 7, 2019
A Brightline train struck and killed a 43-year-old man at Garfield Street in Hollywood. He reportedly was trying to beat the oncoming train.

February 13, 2019
A Brightline train struck and killed a woman north of Hypoluxo Road in Lantana.

January 23, 2019
A Brightline train struck and killed a 59-year-old man on a bicycle near NE 38th Street in Oakland Park.
January 1, 2019
Andres Israel Rodriguez-Oliva, 36, was walking to meet friends and go fishing when he was struck by a Brightline train near a Fort Lauderdale bridge, fell into the canal, and drowned.
November 23, 2018
A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Brightline train near Fillmore Street in Hollywood. According to the Sun Sentinel, police were investigating the death as a potential suicide.
click to enlarge VIA FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION
via Federal Railroad Administration

November 3, 2018
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, a 26-year-old man was attempting to cross the tracks when he was struck and killed by a southbound Brightline train in Miami-Dade.

June 20, 2018
Luke Sherrill, a 29-year-old from Boca Raton, was struck and killed after reportedly running out 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, 2018
A 46-year-old Lakeland man named Christoper Bailey reportedly jumped in front of a southbound Brightline train near Woolbright Road in Boynton Beach. He was struck and killed.


April 8, 2018
A northbound Brightline train struck and killed a man near SE Fourth Street in Delray Beach. At the time, Delray Beach police said it was too soon to say if the death was a suicide.

March 11, 2018
A Brightline train struck and killed John Nitz near Forest Hill Boulevard in West Palm Beach. Witnesses reported that the 56-year-old sat on the tracks and refused to move out of the way of the oncoming train.
January 17, 2018
A Brightline train struck and killed a bicyclist in Boynton Beach, less than a mile away from where Melissa Lavell was hit five days earlier. Jeffrey King had reportedly pedaled his bike around the safety gates while they were down and rode across the tracks.

January 12, 2018
The night before Brightline began limited service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, a train on a VIP run struck and killed a 32-year-old pedestrian in Boynton Beach. The woman, Melissa Lavell, had reportedly ducked under the gates and attempted to beat the oncoming train.
November 1, 2017
A northbound Brightline train on a test run struck and killed 36-year-old Jennifer Reed on the 4500 block of South Dixie Highway in Deerfield Beach.

July 24, 2017
A Brightline train on a test run struck and killed an 18-year-old woman in Boca Raton near Florida Atlantic University. Officials later ruled her death a suicide.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca