Local News

Troopers: Newborn was in car seat before fatal crash

Posted September 1, 2008

— The Highway Patrol said Monday that an investigation has concluded that a 7-day-old baby was in a car seat before a car-train collision that claimed his life and those of his parents.

Skylar Mark Higgins-Brady, who was found some distance from the car, was thrown by the impact, state troopers said. He died Saturday.

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

Investigators initially believed the infant had not been in a car seat.

The collision happened along U.S. Highway 70 Alternate outside of Princeton. Troopers said the train engineer told them the car was slowly crossing the rail line at Herring Road when the train hit it.

The engineer of the Norfolk Southern train, which was loaded with coal, sounded the horn, troopers said, but Brady apparently did not hear it, authorities said. The train pushed the car about a quarter-mile down the track before coming to a stop.

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 Skylar when the car was hit, authorities said. The couple was taking him to his first checkup, authorities said.

A visitation is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday evening at Parrish Funeral Home in Selma. A funeral service for all three victims is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home with a burial following at Evergreen Memorial Park near Princeton.


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  • Trixie Sep 2, 2008

    Last night I turned on a one way street by mistake. I haven't done that since I started driving almost 25 years ago. There is not one person out there that has not done something like this. It's called being human. If we're lucky we live to be more careful next time. What happened here was a tragic accident.

    But this has made me think of railroad crossings. I did not know there were some crossings without gates. I honestly don't know if I would have known to stop if there was not a gate or stop sign. I always slow down and look down both tracks but that would not have been enough in this case. The N&O reported that there is a project to put gates up everywhere in the state. I think at the very least there should be stop signs at all of them.

  • haggis basher Sep 2, 2008

    "It's really not about railroad crossings, car seats, newborn medical car, etc. There's a time a place for that discussion, but now is the time for grieving."
    Are you immediate family? if not then its exactly the time to be talking about carseats and railroad crossings. Thats the only way someone might get something good out of this tradegy. If one reader takes just a second or two when crossing unguarded crossings then it might save a life.
    As regards the child car seat, it doesn't look badly damaged in the crash and the car was not so badly crushed that the seat wouldn't have saved the baby if he had remained in the seat. did the straps fail or had not been properly fitted?
    It simply is not practcal to add gates to all these crossings. Trains are so slow here in NC (I think 70MPH max and this one was only 20mph) there is no good reason for not seeing one coming. They are big, well lighted and noisy. There should be no higher risk of an accident than pulling onto any road.

  • pebbles262004 Sep 2, 2008

    My thoughts and my prayers are with this family in thier time of sorrows. this was a very tragic accident

  • mom2threecld Sep 1, 2008

    this is sooo sad. prayers to the family i cannot imagine what this family is going thru. i will keep all of you in my prayers

  • FE Sep 1, 2008

    C'mon folks - if a car gets hit by a train the car and its occupants are going to be seriously injured and more likely killed.

    You cannot put up electric barricades at every low-volume road crossing, but ALL automobile drivers can adhere to what was on those very old railroad warning signs - "STOP - LOOK - LISTEN"

  • Common Sense Man Sep 1, 2008

    Personally I don't care if the baby was in the seat or not. There isn't anyone left to be held accountable, so what does it matter? Even if there was someone left to be held accountable it would still be just as tragic. I doubt it would matter if the baby was in the seat or out of it, the damage was catastrophic.

  • livin2dance03 Sep 1, 2008

    Thank you WRAL for reporting the correct story. My brother-in-law is very close with Crystal's family. The baby was strapped correctly in the carseat. When the train hit them, the impact threw the carseat out of the base. The straps at the buckle then broke and the baby was thrown out. Come on folks, this is not a regular crash. A train hit them. Either way, both families are grieving the loss of their only children and their first grandchild. Prayers are with them all!

  • Caring Sep 1, 2008

    My prayers go out to the families and May God be with each of you.

  • koolady Sep 1, 2008

    My heart goes out to the families. What a terrible loss to all.

  • ERRN Sep 1, 2008

    tiredofexcuses---who cares if the baby was jaundice. Who cares why the baby was going to the doctor...he just was.