Marcees Kilpatrick shouldn’t have been next to the SunRail tracks on Friday when he was hit and killed by the commuter train last week.
I shouldn’t have been playing at the water company’s abandoned pumping station when I was Marcees’ age.
The pumping station was cool. It had ladders, catwalks, rusty machinery and huge empty tanks. Me and Craig used to pretend the station was our secret headquarters for cops and robbers and spy adventures.
There were hundreds of ways we could have died in the pumping station. Craig and I were lucky and survived childhood. Marcees did not.
Boys will be boys and we sometimes behave recklessly. When you’re 13 you assume you’ll live forever. Now we know that’s not true. Kids need the protection and guidance of adults.
To their credit, SunRail has been running an aggressive safety campaign for years. We urge FDOT managers to redouble those efforts and seek out and fence off other cut-throughs to discourage kids from getting on the tracks.
Hopefully everyone is sending out prayers for Marcees’ family. While you’re at it, please send prayers for the engineer and conductor operating the SunRail train that killed Marcees. When I was a kid, a friend’s dad was the engineer of a train that killed a man. The tragedy haunted that father and he died prematurely.