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Burke Target Employee Killed by VRE Train

A Manassas woman was hit by a VRE Train on Jan. 15 while crossing the tracks at the Burke Centre Station. VRE sent a notice to passengers in April, warning them not to cross the tracks.

A Manassas woman was hit by a VRE Train on Jan. 15 while crossing the tracks at the Burke Centre Station. VRE sent a notice to passengers in April, warning them not to cross the tracks. Photo by Janelle Germanos

A cashier at the Burke Target was hit by a Virginia Railroad Express Train traveling from Washington to Manassas on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

According to Fairfax County Police, Danyelle Lynn Anderson of Manassas was hit right after 7 a.m. while she was crossing the tracks located behind the Target.

“The preliminary investigation determined that a locomotive was traveling southbound en route from Washington, D.C. to Manassas; it was foggy and dark, visibility was reduced. As the train passed the Burke station and rounded a slight curve, the engineer saw a pedestrian walking across the tracks from left to right,” said the news release from the Fairfax County Police Department. “The engineer immediately applied the emergency brake and sounded the horn. The train slowed but hit the pedestrian in the middle of the southbound track.”

There is a bridge pedestrians can use crossing Roberts Highway near the Burke Centre VRE Station, but many riders often cross the tracks to reach nearby neighborhoods. Signs on the fences near the station warn riders not to cross the tracks.

In April, VRE sent a safety and security bulletin regarding the Burke Centre Station, urging passengers to take the extra time to cross the bridge at Roberts Highway rather than crossing the tracks.

“Each day we see a number of VRE and Amtrak passengers leave the station and hike up and over the tracks at this point as a shortcut to Guinea Road. Simply put, this practice is unacceptable to us. You are taking a significant risk in doing this because visibility is severely limited by the natural curve of the railroad and both tracks are always active with both freight and passenger trains. The train you just got off is not the only one out there,” the statement said. “In the interest of passenger safety, we are cracking down on this unsafe and illegal practice. Please use the Roberts Parkway bridge. It may take around two extra minutes but we can assure you, there's nothing on Guinea Road even close to being worth your life and two fewer minutes.”