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Police: Victims struck by train attended East Meck, Independence

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

Police identified two people struck by a freight train early Sunday as teenagers with connections to two Charlotte-area high schools.

Police identified one victim as Hannah Elizabeth Rigley, 18, a 2012 graduate of East Mecklenburg High, according to her Facebook page. A spokesman for Central Piedmont Community College said she been accepted to the school but had not yet enrolled in classes.

The other victim was Arielle McKenzie Troutman, 16, an 11th grader at Independence High, who’d previously attended East Mecklenburg High.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials sent grief counselors to Independence High on Monday, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police continued trying to determine how the girls were struck by a freight train in southeast Charlotte early Sunday.

Investigators said Monday they don’t believe the teens were victims of foul play, but didn’t say why Rigley and Troutman were on the track. It took more than a day to identify the teens, who weren’t carrying identification.

Police spokesman Officer Keith Trietley said the investigation continued, but wouldn’t release more details about the crime scene.

Late Monday morning, five CMPD officers could be seen on the tracks, in the 8500 block of Monroe Road near McAlpine Creek greenway, apparently seeking clues as to the identity of the women.

The area where they were struck is about 200 yards south of Monroe Road, east of Village Lake Drive and Greenway Park Elementary School.

The incident occurred about 3:40 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Investigators say a CSX train headed to the Rutherford County town of Bostic was traveling along the tracks when the engineer thought he saw a person sleeping on the tracks. The engineer told police he put the train in an emergency stop, then sounded its horn and bell. But the train struck the person, according to a police statement.

The conductor got off the train, police said, to check on the person and call 911. Both he and the engineer stayed on the scene. The bodies of two women were found under the train.

Anyone with information about the victims or the accident is asked to call CMPD’s Major Crash Investigations Unit at 704-336-8862. Staff writers Steve Lyttle, Ann Helms, Fred Clasen-Kelly and April Bethea contributed.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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