The conductor of a CSX train that hit and killed two men late Wednesday night in Montgomery County blared his horn several times before the collision, authorities say.
The victims, 18-year-old Alejandro Uribe and 20-year-old Elvin Rojas, were walking along the train tracks near the Garrett Park MARC station just after 11 p.m. when they were hit.
Police say that the conductor saw Uribe and Rojas, both of Wheaton, walking on the tracks near the station, which is located in the 11000 block of Rokeby Avenue in Garrett Park. He hit the brakes and sounded the train's horn several times, but was unable to avoid hitting the two.
Ada Ortega got the call a parent dreads most early Thursday morning. Her son is one of two young men killed by a CSX freight train last night.
“He was the perfect son,” says Ortega or her son, Uribe. “He was a wonderful son a wonderful friend and a wonderful boyfriend right?”
Just a few blocks from Ortega's house Jackie Rojas can’t hold back tears. Her 20-year-old brother Elvin is the other victim.
“He was a very caring person,” Rojas says. “He was very just outgoing. He had just purchased a ticket to go to Costa Rica to travel the world.”
Authorities do not know why the two men were walking on the train tracks at the time of the crash, but they're investigating the two deaths as an accident.
Laura Johnson saw multiple emergency vehicles driving down the street moments after she left a nearby restaurant.
"How can they be walking on the tracks and not hear it?” she asked. “Was it a suicide? We just didn't know."
This afternoon, caution tape is still wrapped around this post which has a sign that clearly states watch for trains.
Trains always been a familiar presence and sound in the neighborhood and residents say for the most part everyone plays it safe.
What they were doing there is a mystery to their loved ones. One friend says the last he'd heard, the lifelong buddies, Einstein High School graduates, were heading to the mall. Walking the tracks would shorten the distance from their homes in Wheaton to White Flint Mall but the truth may never be known.
All their families know for sure is the pain and suddenness of their loss.
“We're not doing well,” Rojas says. “We are very sad.”
“We have peace in our heart. Because he lives up to the last day happy with us,” Ortega says. “We thank god for the time we have with him.”