On November 8, 2021, 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 dozens of people across Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties in the years since its 2017 debut. New Times logged more than 30 pedestrian and motorist deaths caused by collisions with the company's trains since January 2022. A large majority of those fatal incidents involved pedestrians, some of whom police say committed suicide.
In August 2022, Brightline announced a $45 million federally funded project entailing the construction of "at least 33 miles of pedestrian protection features and supplemental safety measures." Brightline said it would upgrade its railway with fencing, better safety signage, and raised pavement markers, among other upgrades stretching from Brevard to Miami-Dade counties.
In an interview with New Times in February, transportation safety advocate Mike Arias argued those safety features should have been in place in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties when Brightline service began years ago.
The rail operator's long-awaited, inaugural train service to Orlando kicked off September 22, but the trip was delayed after a pedestrian in Delray Beach was killed by another Brightline train heading south to Miami. Less than a week later, the death of a homeless man in St. Lucie County marked the first reported fatality on Brightline's newly expanded route to Central Florida. The two deaths, which local police initially classified as likely suicides, followed an extended period of no Brightline-related fatalities.
Here is a timeline of Brightline deaths since the train service started:
December 19, 2023
A courthouse employee was struck and killed by a Brightline train in downtown West Palm Beach, just across from the county courthouse.
Police say 69-year-old Gary Millar was attempting to cross the railroad tracks when he was hit by the northbound train. Millar reportedly worked at the courthouse as a Spanish language interpreter.
November 22, 2023
At around 5:30 p.m., a northbound Brightline train hit a man in east Boynton Beach near Palmetto Greens Linear Park. He died from his injuries.
Hours later, another Brightline train hit an unoccupied vehicle in Jensen Beach, about an hour drive north of the first accident. Police say the driver in the second incident –– an elderly woman who witnesses say got stuck on the train tracks –– escaped before her car was crushed by the high-speed passenger train.
October 19, 2023
A 60-year-old Melbourne woman was fatally struck by a Brightline train after trying to walk across two sets of train tracks. Police say Lisa Molnar was attempting to cross the tracks around 2:45 p.m. when she was hit and killed by the train. Her death marked the first fatal Brightline accident in the city of Melbourne.
September 28, 2023
A 25-year-old homeless man died after he was hit by a Brightline train near Fort Pierce. Hours later, in an afternoon briefing, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said that there was "strong evidence" to suggest the incident was a suicide.
It was the first reported death on the train's newly expanded service to Orlando.
Friday's death in tracks on Delray was 28th from Brightline train in Palm Beach County https://t.co/d45bKzrkgo— The Palm Beach Post (@pbpost) September 22, 2023
September 22, 2023
A man was struck and killed by a Brightline train near Delray Beach in what police initially suspected to be a suicide. As previously reported by New Times, the fatal crash delayed the railway operator’s separate, inaugural trip from Miami to Orlando, which took off just minutes after the incident.
June 5, 2023
A 50-year-old man died after being struck by a Brightline train in Delray Beach. Police say the man, who they identified as Jeffrey Balsewich, was walking along the tracks before he was hit, according to the Palm Beach Post.
June 2, 2023
A 29-year-old woman, who police later identified as Dyanna Fernandez, died after being struck by a Brightline train in Pompano Beach. Witnesses said she was using her cellphone around the time she crossed onto the tracks, according to CBS Miami. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.
May 21, 2023
A woman was found dead after being struck by two trains — a Brightline train, followed by a freight train — in Deerfield Beach, according to the Sun Sentinel. Witnesses recall seeing her circumvent barricades to enter the railroad tracks, the Sentinel reported.
May 12, 2023
A pedestrian was killed after being struck by a Brightline train in Lake Worth Beach, according to WPTV.
March 14, 2023
A Brightline train fatally struck a man near North Biscayne Boulevard, a few blocks from the new station in Aventura, according to NBC 6.
February 8, 2023
Two people suffered fatal injuries when a Brightline train hit their SUV while it was stopped at Lindell Boulevard and Old Dixie Highway in Delray Beach. Police later identified the couple as 82-year-old Arthur Jacobson and 77-year-old Bette Jacobson.
January 21, 2023
A person walking along the train tracks near North Dixie Highway, just north of Brightline’s new station in Boca Raton, was struck and killed by one of the high-speed passenger trains, according to the Palm Beach Post.
January 9, 2023
A Brightline train struck and killed a pedestrian in Aventura, WSVN reported.
December 9, 2022
A man was pronounced dead at the scene after his vehicle was hit by a Brightline train in Palm Beach County. According to WPTV, the 36-year-old from Boynton Beach was driving a Cadillac in Lake Worth Beach when a northbound train collided with the car.
November 21, 2022
A Brightline train traveling through Dania Beach rammed into a man, inflicting fatal injuries. According to Local 10, the incident took place around 6:30 p.m. between Stirling Road and SW 4th Avenue.
October 27, 2022
A man was reportedly walking on the railroad tracks in Lantana when a Brightline train struck and killed him. According to CBS12, the man was in his 30s or 40s. His death came two days after another pedestrian was killed by a Brightline train, less than twenty miles away.
October 25, 2022
Another pedestrian was fatally injured by a Brightline train in Palm Beach County. The train hit the victim around SW 18th Street near Dixie Highway in Boca Raton.
October 19, 2022
A Brightline train fatally struck a pedestrian in North Miami Beach, according to police.
October 1, 2022
A pedestrian was hit and killed by a Brightline train around 6:30 p.m. near the Coral Ridge Isles neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, which sits near the city’s northern border. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
September 19, 2022
A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Brightline train shortly after noon near downtown Hollywood. According to NBC 6, the incident was a suicide.
One Dies After Vehicle Hit By Brightline Train— Boca Post (@TheBocaPost) June 7, 2022
Broward Sheriff's Office tells Boca Post that one person has died after a vehicle was struck by a Brightline train in Oakland Park on Tuesday afternoon.
#brightline #brightlinetrainhttps://t.co/3mdmcVRjM8 pic.twitter.com/c8CDZbwWJr
September 2, 2022
A pedestrian died after being struck by a Brightline train on Commercial Boulevard in Oakland Park.
August 9, 2022
A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Brightline train while reportedly walking across the tracks in Lake Worth Beach.
August 7, 2022
A 67-year-old man was killed by a Brightline train in Boynton Beach near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Federal Highway after reportedly walking around the crossing gates and colliding with the train, which was estimated to be traveling 65mph.
August 2, 2022
A man was struck and killed while reportedly walking across the train tracks in Delray Beach. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
June 7, 2022
A man died in Oakland Park after his car collided with a Brightline train. It's unclear what led to the fatal crash, which took place near NE 62nd Street and Dixie Highway.
May 31, 2022
A person was struck and killed by a Brightline train in the late afternoon in Pompano Beach.
May 7, 2022
A woman riding a scooter died after colliding with a Brightline train in Pompano Beach. According to the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO), the train was heading south when the woman, who was also heading south, tried to cross the railroad tracks and struck the side of the train.
May 2, 2022
A 27-year-old man died after reportedly driving around the railroad gates and crashing into a Brightline train. The conductor of a nearby freight train told Local 10 News it appeared the driver was trying to beat his train and was struck by the Brightline heading in the opposite direction.
April 13, 2022
A person was killed after being struck by a Brightline train in Aventura.
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.
VHI Investigators en route to investigate Vehicle VS Brightline Train in the City of Lake Worth Beach. Around 4:07pm we responded to 17th Ave North and F Street. Upon arrival, deputies located at least one person deceased in a vehicle that was struck by a Brightline Train. pic.twitter.com/QB7ZByELgU— PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) February 13, 2022
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.
Man Killed by Brightline Train in Hollywood https://t.co/ppAOjhKumn— NBC 6 South Florida (@nbc6) January 28, 2022
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.
Brother and sister on way to work killed in Brightline crash in Aventura, police say https://t.co/w6zhL2avuv— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) January 3, 2022
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.
NE 163 ST/ Biscayne Blvd is currently blocked off due to a pedestrian being struck by the train. Please avoid the area and check our Twitter for updates #316— North Miami Beach PD (@myNMBPolice) December 7, 2021
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.
A woman has died after her car was struck by a Brightline train near Aventura. https://t.co/YMUQHFAYH4— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) November 15, 2019
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
Jennifer Reed, 35, was pronounced dead at the scene of the Brightline collision, Broward Sheriff’s PIO said https://t.co/2j12lChago— SFBJ Venture (@SFBJVenture) November 3, 2017
A Brightline train struck and killed a 47-year-old pedestrian near Taft Street in Hollywood.
What is left of Maserati going around down crossing arms to beat a southbound freight train. What he didn't see was the northbound high-speed passenger (Brightline) train. What is left. Why do people attempt to go around down arms. pic.twitter.com/jC8I2IJqxP— Cary (@MrRADRC) September 12, 2019
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.
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.
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.
We are on scene of @GoBrightline train that struck a pedestrian on the tracks just south of Woolbright Road. The male victim is dead. No roadways are affected by the investigation.— bbpd (@BBPD) June 1, 2018
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.
This is Jeffrey King, the bicyclist hit and killed by Brightline train in Boynton on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/lMwZZZzKqj— Alexandra (@alexseltzer) January 18, 2018
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.
Brightline is experiencing delays due to a trespasser incident. Please check back for updates.— Brightline (@GoBrightline) September 24, 2019
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.