Local News

Newborn in car-train wreck dies

Posted August 30, 2008

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— A 6-day-old boy injured when a freight train hit the car he and his parents’ were traveling in died Saturday, hospital officials said.

Skylar Brady’s parents Brannon Worth Brady, 25, and Crystal Lee Higgins, 22, who both lived in Princeton and were engaged to be married, died in the Friday Johnston County wreck.

The incident happened along U.S. Highway 70 Alternate outside of Princeton. Authorities said the car was trying to cross the rail line at Herring Road when the train hit it.

The Norfolk Southern train, which was loaded with coal, pushed the car about a quarter-mile down the track before coming to a stop, authorities said.

Witnesses said Brady pulled up to the rail crossing and tapped his brakes but didn't stop and was hit as he pulled onto the tracks.

Authorities estimated the train was traveling at 17 to 20 mph and that the wreck was caused by a combination of Brady initially not seeing the train and his then trying to beat it to the crossing. The crossing has no warning lights or crossbars to indicate a train is approaching and to block access.

Higgins was sitting in the back seat of the car with her infant son, Skylar, when the car was hit, authorities said. The baby wasn't in a car seat – it's unclear whether Higgins was holding the child or the baby was lying on the back seat – and the impact threw him from the vehicle, authorities said.

Stacey Jones, who lives nearby, found Skylar in a grassy area about 100 yards away from the tracks.

Skylar was taken to WakeMed, where he died Saturday.

"The baby was just born five or six days ago. They were on their way for its first check-up at the hospital," family friend William Otis Daughtry said. "It's just a sad time for us all here in Johnston County."

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