Incoming Georgia Tech freshman Bryce Gowdy Hit by Freight Train in South Florida

Incoming Georgia Tech freshman wide receiver Bryce Gowdy has died, the school confirmed Monday.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, a freight train hit Gowdy early Monday morning in his hometown of Deerfield Beach, Florida. Gowdy was taken to Broward Health North Hospital, where he died. He was 17.

According to the Broward County medical examiner’s office, Gowdy died by suicide, and the cause of death was blunt force injuries.

Gowdy signed with the Yellow Jackets earlier this month and was set to enroll in school next week. He was a four-star recruit out of Deerfield Beach and was one of the top-rated players coming in to Georgia Tech as part of the No. 25-ranked class in the country.

“Our entire Georgia Tech football family is devastated by the news of Bryce’s passing,” Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins said in a statement. “Bryce was an outstanding young man with a very bright future. He was a great friend to many, including many of our current and incoming team members. On behalf of our coaches, players, staff and families, we offer our deepest condolences to Bryce’s mother, Shibbon, and his brothers, Brisai and Brayden, as well as the rest of his family members, his teammates and coaches at Deerfield Beach High School, and his many friends. Bryce and his family will always be a part of the Georgia Tech football family.”

Gowdy’s death is the second tragedy for Georgia Tech this year. Defensive lineman Brandon Adams died in Atlanta in March after collapsing near campus and being taken by friends to a local hospital. He was 21.

While this particular case has been ruled a suicide, there are many train accidents that occur that result in wrongful death or very serious personal injuries. Each and every day, passenger trains transport millions of people across the country into and out of cities and across state lines. These passenger trains are operated by commuter lines as well as Amtrak. Amtrak operates a nationwide rail network, serving more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces, on more than 21,400 miles of routes, according to its website. In 2018, Amtrak customers took 31.7 million trips. On an average day, customers made nearly 87,000 trips on more than 300 Amtrak trains. 

Sadly, train accidents on these carriers are all too common. According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in 2018, 878 people died in train accidents in the United States, an increase from 823 fatalities in 2017. Examples of railroad accidents include train derailments, trains hitting tractor-trailers or cars at crossings, trains hitting pedestrians, and collisions with other trains. 

Our South Florida Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help injured railroad passengers as well as railroad workers and their families in personal injury or wrongful death claims and lawsuits against Amtrak as well as commuter trains. The state of Florida imposes certain legal obligations on railroad carriers, and we can help investigate your accident to find out if regulations were being followed. When you have been injured or lost a loved one in a railroad accident, choosing legal counsel experienced in railroad litigation is crucial. We offer a free consultations and will do everything we can to get you a successful result.  

It is important to understand that the law does not hold the railroad responsible for all injuries under every circumstance. The law does require that the railroads take reasonable actions to prevent injury and death. Therefore, a careful investigation must be done to examine the exact cause of the accident. 

Railroad accidents are most often the result of human error, where something could have been done to prevent them from happening. Freak accidents in a railroad accident are quite rare. It is for these reasons that having a knowledgeable South Florida Train Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton on your side who is proficient in railroad accident laws can be invaluable and make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. The most common causes of a railroad accidents is one of the following:

  • Train operator negligence
  • Malfunction of brakes
  • Malfunction of warning lights, sounds, and gates
  • Faulty communication equipment
  • Defective or broken handrails on locomotives or rail cars
  • Defective hand brakes
  • Defective or broken rails which can cause derailment
  • Distracted employees
  • Conductor or engineer negligence
  • Workers under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
  • Workers who improperly switch tracks
  • Workers who push train cars without following safety precautions
  • Workers who leave cars in a position unsafe for other cars functioning on the same or an adjacent track
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